To some, trading up to the 14th pick to draft a guard—sending two third-round picks to the Vikings in order to pick Alijah Vera-Tucker—was an unnecessary move.
General manager Joe Douglas has no problem with the decision, though. Vera-Tucker was ranked even higher than No. 14 on New York's draft board.
"Where we were sitting at 23, we felt we had a unique opportunity to get a top-10 player in our minds," Douglas said on Thursday night after the conclusion of the first round. "As our board was stacked, to go up and get a guy like Alijah Vera-Tucker, a player that has started at tackle has started a guard, and has been highly productive at both. With that versatility and that production is something that we really value."
Although it was too early for Douglas to reveal exactly where he plans to play Vera-Tucker on New York's offensive line, the first-rounder projects to fit in nicely at left guard.
Vera-Tucker was viewed as the top-rated guard of this class and although he played left tackle for USC during his final season with the Trojans, Douglas can see the lineman fitting anywhere up front in green and white.
Factor Vera-Tucker in with Zach Wilson, Gang Green's new franchise quarterback taken with the No. 2 overall pick, and Douglas is confident the Jets took a huge step in the right direction on Thursday night.
"I feel like this ball club's improved, and I feel good about the two people and players that we brought in, and the leadership that they're going to bring," Douglas said. "Just ecstatic really about these two young men."
New York has more work to do, and certainly made a sacrifice to move up nine spots to get their guy, but it's clear this organization has no regrets.
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