Teams looking to improve the interior of their offensive line will have plenty of options at guard and center to choose from in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft, including Alijah Vera-Tucker. The best interior lineman prospect in this year's class, here's why Tucker is considered a virtual lock to be taken in the first round.
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Alijah Vera-Tucker Draft Profile
Vera-Tucker was a stud at left guard for the Trojans as a sophomore before moving outside to left tackle as a junior, and he was one of the nation’s best at both of those spots. He has quick, light feet and the ability to consistently square up, where his natural balance, core strength and flexibility allow him to anchor effectively against power. His feet never stop moving, and he’s rarely knocked off-balance. He shows a great feel for picking up late blitzers and stunts, rarely getting caught off-guard — those instincts made him a natural playing inside, where there’s more to process. He can get out into space in the run game, where he consistently adjusts to and lands blocks on moving targets, and he’s excellent in the screen game, where his athleticism and speed allow him to get in front of the play.
Vera-Tucker’s length is a little fringy for him to play outside, and when he gets into trouble it’s typically because he can’t keep opponents out of his chest. There are some tweener qualities, as he’s more technician than mauler playing inside.
Vera-Tucker’s quickness, athleticism and instincts are fits in the modern NFL. He should be starting early, at left guard or left tackle.