2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Alijah Vera-Tucker

Alijah Vera-Tucker Scouting Report

A slightly undersized offensive tackle coming from USC, dive into the Alijah Vera-Tucker scouting report below to see his strengths, weaknesses and thoughts on a potential position switch.

School: USC / Position: OL / Height: 6’4” / Weight: 300 / Class: rJr.

Games Watched: Utah (2020), Oregon (2020), UCLA (2020)

Pass Blocking: 

AJT is an accomplished pass protector despite his perceived physical limitations. He has a terrific kick step with feet that are always moving and hands that hit hard. He will, at times, lose reps due to his lack of length when longer rushers get their hands on him first. At times struggles to recover due to these size limitations. A tremendous vertical setter, AJT has fast feet allowing him to gain great depth in his kick slide. 

Run Blocking: 

A great run blocker who does a fantastic job of getting to the second level. He is physical at all times and always manages to get himself in favorable positions in the run game. Eliminates LB’s with ease as well. Plays with an attitude as well always looking for more work and enjoys finishing the play. 

Athleticism: 

I really like AJT as an athlete. He is very quick and twitchy and it shows in his kick slide in pass protection. He gets to the second level quickly and efficiently when asked to pull and get to the sidelines on screen plays. This athletic ability would seem to translate most to the NFL where he may be asked to kick inside to guard. 

Strength: 

A very strong player who used his as well at OT. When put against players who had a similar physical profile, he was able to out muscle them easily and hold his own on his anchor in pass sets. This strength will correlate better at guard where he be matched up with less long armed players. 

Second Level: 

One of my favorite parts of his game, he gets to the second level very well and efficiently. He also seems to relish this part of the game as he attacks LB’s when asked to reach block and gets on his horse when asked to pull. A huge plus and one of the big reasons I like him for a position switch.  

Anchor:

One of the biggest reasons I do not want to see him play OT at the next level is due to this. With his shorter arms, he cannot be asked to anchor as he will not get his feet planted and will be pushed back by any and all long arm bull rushes. 

Hand Usage: 

He consistently struggles to get the first punch but I believe this is mostly due to his build and the type of players he was facing off against. When he is able to get his hands in a favorable position however, he does a fantastic job. Strong player with strong hands who can control the point of attack. 

Recovery: 

Poor recovery ability on the outside, struggles to recover once he starts stumbling. This is one of my biggest fears with him as an offensive tackle prospect and a big reason why I prefer him at guard. 

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Aggressiveness: 

While not overly aggressive in nature, he is not scared to play physical at the point of attack. He attacks defenders on the second level and is always willing and looking to find more work. I have no questions in this aspect of his game. 

Footwork: 

Tremendous footwork. His kick step is tremendous and his feet are constantly active in his pass set. He never allows his feet to cross, allowing him to maintain balance at all times. Does great in the run game as well, always putting himself in good positions. An elite player in this aspect. 

Assessment:  

I really like AJT as a prospect. I would like him even more if he kicked inside to guard. He simply lacks the build of an NFL OT. This is not to take away from his skills however as he is a very technically gifted lineman. His kick step is as good as anyone’s in the class and has the framework to become great with his hands. An NFL team however, is likely to try him outside at first due to the value of offensive tackle compared to guard. I have given AJT a first round grade as a guard prospect but I would like him closer to the third round as a OT. Preferably, he would start his development as a guard right out of the gate and flourish with as player who should become elite at the position. 

Grade: First Round

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