The Jets have signed Alijah Vera-Tucker out of USC, the second of the team's two picks in the first round (No. 14) in the NFL Draft.
According to Pro Football Focus, AVT played 975 total snaps in pass protection and allowed only 5 sacks, 3 quarterback hits and 8 quarterback hurries. Vera-Tucker's career pass-blocking grade was 91.6, which is the second-highest among offensive linemen in the 2021 draft class.
After the Jets took QB Zach Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick, they were sitting with the No. 23 selection (via the Jamal Adams trade to Seattle), watching as USC's Vera-Tucker (AVT) was available at the start of the second ten.
"We felt we had a unique opportunity to get a top-10 player in our minds as our board was stacked," General Manager Joe Douglas said after the Green & White traded three picks (Nos. 23, 66 and 86) to Minnesota for Nos. 14 and 143. "To go up and get a guy like Alijah Vera-Tucker, a player that has started at tackle, has started at guard and has been highly productive at both. That versatility and that production is something we really value."
By drafting Vera-Tucker (6-4, 215), who has played guard and tackle on the left, and tackle on the right side, the Jets could potentially team him with last year's top draft pick, Mekhi Becton, to form a formidable tandem.
"Being able to play alongside Mekhi, you have two physical players on the same side," AVT said during his first visit to the Jets Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, NJ. "At the same time, I'll play wherever they need me -- left guard, left tackle, right tackle -- wherever they need me I'll come in and play. At same time it really doesn't matter to me."
Vera-Tucker became the 16th draft choice by the Jets out of USC in franchise history since the start of the common NFL/AFL draft in 1969. The team has selected DB Mike Battle No. 331 overall in 1969; RB Anthony Davis No. 27 in 1975; LB Richard Wood No. 78 in 1975; G Joe Davis No. 211 in 1976; T Marvin Powell No. 4 in 1977; DT Brian Luft No. 124 in 1985; G Dave Cadigan No. 8 in 1988; LB Kurt Barber No. 42 in 1992; WR Keyshawn Johnson No. 1 overall in 1996; WR Windrell Hayes No. 143 in 2000; QB Mark Sanchez No. 5 in 2009; B Joe McKnight No. 112 in 2010; DT Leonard Williams No. 6 in 2015; QB Sam Darnold No. 3 in 2018; and OL Chuma Edoga No. 92 in 2019.