NY Jets might move Alijah Vera-Tucker to offensive tackle again

Alijah Vera-Tucker could be on the move again this season

NY Jets, Alijah Vera-Tucker
NY Jets, Alijah Vera-Tucker / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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The NY Jets have an incredible luxury in offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker. The former first-round pick has played just 23 games in his brief NFL career, but in that time, he's started games at four of the five offensive line positions.

Vera-Tucker has played every offensive line position except center for the Jets. He started his rookie year at left guard, moved to right guard following the addition of Laken Tomlinson, and then started games at both left and right tackle after a slew of injuries last season.

The Jets plan to keep Vera-Tucker at right guard this season, but they might already be second-guessing that decision.

Head coach Robert Saleh spoke to reporters prior to Thursday's practice and didn't shut the door on Vera-Tucker moving to tackle again. He insisted that the Jets want to start their "best five" offensive linemen, and if that includes playing Vera-Tucker at tackle, then so be it.

This is notably a softer stance than the one Saleh took earlier in the offseason. That's likely at least partially due to the struggles of the Jets' offensive tackles so far this summer.

The NY Jets are already considering moving Alijah Vera-Tucker to offensive tackle

With Duane Brown sidelined, the likes of Max Mitchell and Billy Turner have been rotating as the Jets' two starting offensive tackles this summer. Neither has done much to inspire confidence.

Turner has been probably the weakest link of the offensive line this summer, while Mitchell — who has had his share of practice struggles as well — was pushed around by the Cleveland Browns' backups in the preseason opener last Thursday.

Mekhi Becton has been relegated to strictly working as a second-team left tackle and doesn't appear to be a serious threat to start. That leaves Mitchell or Turner as the expected Week 1 starting right tackle.

Evidently, the Jets don't seem fully comfortable with that idea. Moving Vera-Tucker to right tackle is a possibility they are at least considering. It's unlikely that this decision will be made before Week 1, but if Mitchell/Turner struggles come the regular season, it's very much on the table.

That would force the Jets to make a change to their interior offensive line. The most likely outcome would see veteran Wes Schweitzer fill in at right guard, but the team could also consider either Connor McGovern or rookie Joe Tippmann in the role as well.

If the Jets insist on starting their "best five" offensive linemen, it's hard to make an argument that Mitchell or Turner deserves to be on the field. And if Becton isn't being considered for a starting job, the Jets' best bet might just be to move Vera-Tucker to tackle again.

It's not an ideal situation, but it's clearly one the Jets are considering. Don't be surprised if Alijah Vera-Tucker plays tackle again at some point this season. It almost feels inevitable.

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