A review of one of the more versatile offensive linemen in the 2021 Draft.
Alijah Vera-Tucker is an athletic and versatile offensive lineman who was asked to play multiple positions along the offensive front by the USC Trojans. He has played and played well playing right guard, left guard, and left tackle during his career at USC.
Vera-Tucker actually started all 13 games in 2019 at left guard, and he performed extremely well at the position, making the All-Pac-12 second team and the AP All-PAC 12 first team among other accolades. Initially, Vera-Tucker opted out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the Pac-12 announced It would be playing fall football, and he started all 6 games at left tackle, where he also earned All-PAC 12 honors.
Here’s my evaluation of Alijah Vera-Tucker and why the Falcons could possibly have him on their radar if they’re in the market for a versatile, polished starter for their offensive line
Alijah Vera-Tucker scouting report
Player Height/Weight: 6’4” – 315 lbs
- Well-built and sturdy frame with thick and powerful lower body.
- Exhibits good core strength.
- Plays with toughness and a nasty demeanor.
- Well-conditioned and gives 4 quarters of maximum effort.
- Shows good strength and a powerful punch at the point of attack.
- Excellent footwork and lateral mobility and excellent agility for his size.
- Able to get extension with proper hand placement, keeping defenders out of his frame.
- Versatility to play guard and tackle effectively.
- Shows a good and consistent pass set at guard and tackle.
- Quick off the snap and able to make 2nd level blocks seamlessly in the run game.
- Shows an ability to anchor against bull rushes.
- Excellent run blocker and is rarely caught out of position.
- Plays with good overall balance and great body control.
- Great ability to get into position and wall off defenders.
- Good football intelligence with an innate recognition of stunts and blitzes.
- Could struggle against longer defenders inside or outside.
- Can sometimes be caught with his pad level high.
- Good functional strength, but will benefit from getting stronger at the next level.
- Needs to work on his hands when beaten, keeping them inside the defender’s frame.
- Needs to work on improving his footwork at the next level.
Coach Arthur Smith has made it known that he values depth in the trenches, and also stated that he wants smart and tough football players to fill out his roster in all positions. Alijah Vera-Tucker is unquestionably a player in that mold, and one Smith could covet.
A scheme versatile OL with good athleticism and great work ethic, Vera-Tucker is certainly a good candidate to solidify the LG position in Atlanta. Although he can play LT in a pinch, I feel that Vera-Tucker’s best role at the next level would be at guard considering his length, demeanor and intelligence. It just so happens that the Falcons have a major need at left guard.
Will the Falcons consider drafting Vera-Tucker? If the Falcons make the decision to trade down in the 1st round of the 2021 NFL Draft, it’s certainly feasible for GM Terry Fontenot to pull the trigger on Vera-Tucker in the middle-to-late first round, where he’s likely to be selected. His talent could well make him the best player on their board, and further solidifying the offensive line could pay real dividends for this team in 2021 and beyond.