1. Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC (OG/OT)
Size: 6-5, 308
The Good: In a draft full of tough guy bulldozers and blasters, here’s the technician. Here’s the guy who might still need a little refinement here and there, but he’ll either be adequate on the outside or an overwhelming all-around blocker in the interior.
His future and long term production will be at guard, but go ahead and use him as a tackle if needed – he’s what a modern interior NFL lineman looks and plays like.
He’s a big guy who carries it well, the strength is there to be a bit of a bully and handle power, and again, he can move well enough to work as a tackle.
A Trojan great, @ALIJAHVT!!
— USC Football (@USC_FB) December 28, 2020
The Not-So-Good: Is he a tweener? Someone will think of him as more of a tackle, and that might not be what you’re buying considering where he’s likely to go in the draft.
Again, there’s no problem getting tough, but he’s not the pure masher that other guards in the draft are. In terms of value, is he enough of a gamechanger to go in the top 20 overall? He’s not Quenton Nelson as a guard, and there are other tackles-who-could-be-guards in this with a better upside on the outside.
NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: It’s a deep group of very good guards, and Vera-Tucker is the best of the lot. The stigma of being a guard is gone – you need stars at all five spots on an NFL front. Best of all, he fits everyone.
He can be the star of a line in the interior, he’ll be athletic enough to stand out on a line full of thumpers, and/or he can hold his own on a finesse line that needs to protect the franchise superstar quarterback.
Projected Round: First