Grading the NY Jets' last 10 first-round draft picks
By Ryan Shafer
2021, 14th overall: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, NY Jets
The second first-round pick of the 2021 draft was offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker from USC. Praised for his versatility, Vera-Tucker was brought in with the idea of placing him next to Mekhi Becton and dominating the left side of the ball for the next decade.
Despite Becton's struggles to stay healthy, Vera-Tucker proved that the Jets moving up to select him was a wise choice.
Vera-Tucker played and started in 16 games as a rookie, playing as solid of a left guard as possible for a young player. In his second stint, due to massive injuries, Vera-Tucker flashed his versatility, playing multiple positions at a high level.
Some around the league believe the Jets would be wise to place Vera-Tucker at right tackle this upcoming season because of how well he played there last year in limited action.
However, eventually, the injury bug came for Vera-Tucker as well. He was only able to play seven games in his second year before being ruled out the rest of the way. He is expected back for the start of the 2023 season and has tremendous potential to improve his grading.
He must stay healthy and get back to the All-Pro levels he flashed during his rookie and second seasons at left guard. If he can solidify that spot, and get average play from Duane Brown next to him, the Jets should have a formidable line next year.