LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 02: USC Trojans guard Alijah Vera-Tucker (75) during a college football game between the Oregon Ducks and the USC Trojans on November 02, 2019, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA.
(Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings exchanged picks, allowed the former to select USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker.

The New York Jets have traded Sam Darnold but a USC alum will play a major role on their offense next season.

New York swapped first-round picks with the Minnesota Vikings (14th for 23rd), and also gained the 143rd overall selection on Saturday, in exchange for 66th and 86th choices.

With the primary choice at No. 14, the Jets took interior offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker out of Southern California. The former Trojan is the most recent winner of the Morris Trophy, annually bestowed to the Pac-12’s best lineman.


While the price for Vera-Tucker seems a bit high, with the Jets passing along a pair of day two picks to move up nine spots, he should make an instant impact in an interior role manned by Alex Lewis last season. The selection of Vera-Tucker was no doubt inspired by the Jets’ opening choice of BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with the second overall pick. His relatively short arms (32 1/8 inches) perhaps scared off teams in the top ten, but he boasts great versatility and an ability to play multiple positions.

NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah referred to Vera-Tucker as one of the “safest” picks in the 2021 draft.

“he’s one of my favorite players in the whole draft. He can play darned near anywhere,” Jeremiah said, per Kevin Hickey of ColtsWire. “I think he’s going to be an All-Pro guard. He can hold up at tackle if you wanted him to. But you want to get better along that offensive line, I think he’s just one of the cleanest, safest picks in the whole draft.”

After the blocking negligence of the Mike Maccagnan era, Jets general manager Joe Douglas has not hesitated to show just how much a strong offensive line means to him. This marks the second straight draft in which the Jets have chosen a blocker in the first round (following Mekhi Becton at No. 11 last year), the first time they’ve done so in consecutive seasons since 1977-78 (Marvin Powell/Chris Ward respectively).

 

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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GoNYGoNYGoJetOrange verge tibbs Dark Demonik Milesahead Recent comment authors
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Milesahead
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Milesahead

Absolutely love the pick of AVT. I would have preferred we didn’t have to go all the way up to 14 to get him, losing both our 3rd rounders in the process, but AVT is an elite prospect who should help Big Ticket nail down the left side of the OL for the next decade.

Great start to this draft!

Dark Demonik
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Dark Demonik

They gave up 2 3rd rounders *one of them that did not belong to them and a 1st rounder that belonged to the Seahawks* for AVT…. basically traded Jamal for AVT and a player for next year im very pumped up!!!!

verge tibbs
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verge tibbs

Word. And jd has shown how much he values picks so id wager he’ll move around the board more and take away the sting of the traded picks. Very happy so far

JetOrange
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JetOrange

Possibility of Teven Jenkins or JOK @ 34. Curious if Saleh wants another Pass Rusher in Ojulari ? All outstanding values

JetOrange
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JetOrange

After Slater came off the board, Douglas moved decisively. The GM is paying attention, great job

GoNYGoNYGo
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GoNYGoNYGo

I loved moving up to 14 to grab AVT and was surprised I didn’t hear many others with that same pre-draft strategy. The trade was good because it only resulted in a net 1 player loss. The other think I haven’t seen mentioned is that it now frees Joe Douglas cut Alex Lewis, saving over $5M in cap space. I see that being used to sign a veteran CB to back up the CB that they draft with their next pick. I look at it being either Sherman or Poole (or both?). The Jets still have $10M in effective cap… Read more »