New York Jets send one player to PFF’s All-Rookie Team
In April 2021, New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas bet the house on guard Alijah Vera-Tucker out of USC when he traded up nine spots to take him in the NFL Draft. Many considered him to be the draft’s best guard, and so far, he has lived up to the expectations.
On Tuesday, Vera-Tucker was named to Pro Football Focus’ All-Rookie offensive line alongside Ra’Shawn Slater, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith, and Penei Sewell.
PFF’s All-Rookie OL 💪 pic.twitter.com/1GdSNS7euO
— PFF (@PFF) January 12, 2022
PFF also released its full All-Rookie Team, with Vera-Tucker featured as the only Jet.
Vera-Tucker had an up-and-down season for New York, but overall, he had a very solid season for a rookie. PFF gave him an overall grade of 67.2, which ranked 42nd out of 90 qualified guards.
In the run game, Vera-Tucker was a huge part of the Jets’ success. For the most part, his struggles came in pass protection as he gave up 42 pressures.
Vera-Tucker was inconsistent from game to game. At PFF, he had two elite games with a 90+ grade, those coming against a Falcons team featuring Grady Jarrett and a Buccaneers front that features Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh, and William Gholston.
Despite a few underwhelming performances, Vera-Tucker showcased his ability to perform at an elite level against elite talent. There is a lot to look forward to in his future and a second-year leap should be expected.
As much as fans and scouts liked Vera-Tucker as a prospect, some disagreed with the amount Douglas sent away to trade up for him. To get up to 14th overall, Douglas sent Minnesota the 23rd overall pick and two third-rounders (while also getting a fourth-rounder from Minnesota along with the 14th pick). According to most draft slot value charts, the Jets overpaid to get Vera-Tucker.
Even if they did, odds are Douglas would do the same thing if he had the chance to redo it. There is a lot riding on Vera-Tucker becoming a long-term pillar on the offense, and one year in, Douglas and the Jets are reaping the benefits.