The NY Jets didn't have too many positives to take away from their woeful performance against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5. But one such positive was the dominant play of rookie left guard Alijah Vera-Tucker.
Vera-Tucker got off to a bit of a slow start, as probably should have been expected for a rookie offensive lineman who missed most of the summer and the entire preseason with a pectoral injury.
But we're now just a few weeks into his rookie campaign, and he's already dominating.
Vera-Tucker put together his finest performance yet in Week 5 finishing as Pro Football Focus' highest-graded offensive lineman of the week (before the Monday night game).
Vera-Tucker's 92.4 overall grade included an 88.9 pass-block grade and a 90.6 run-block grade. He was absolutely dominant in every sense of the word.
And this game wasn't an outlier either. It continued a trend of recent standout performances.
The NY Jets are starting to see a dominant Alijah Vera-Tucker
Over the last two weeks, Vera-Tucker has graded out as a top-five offensive guard in football, per PFF. He finished last week's game with an equally impressive 82.6 pass-block grade.
Vera-Tucker hasn't allowed a single pressure since Week 3. He hasn't allowed a sack since Week 1. And he's been opening up holes in the run game all year long.
Imagine if he was playing next to a healthy Mekhi Becton?
This is the reason Vera-Tucker was widely considered to be the best interior offensive lineman in his class. This is the reason the Jets gave up as much as they did to trade up in the draft and select him.
We're seeing those elite traits that he showed at USC. He's living up to his draft status and then some and has been one of the top-performing rookie offensive linemen this year, even with his relatively slow start.
Vera-Tucker has been impressing as a run blocker all season as his 81.3 run-block grade ranks eighth among all guards in the NFL. Now, his pass-blocking is catching up after two phenomenal weeks in a row.
Alijah Vera-Tucker is well on his way to being one of the better interior offensive linemen in the NFL. And it's only taken him a few weeks to show that potential.