6 guards the Vikings could select in the 2021 NFL Draft
By Chris Schad
Alijah Vera-Tucker (USC)
- Height: 6-foot-4 | Weight: 308 pounds
The first glance at Alijah Vera-Tucker will give Vikings fans some bad flashbacks. Vera-Tucker wore No. 75 at USC, which will remind Minnesota fans of the team’s former draft bust Matt Kalil, but he also showed enough while wearing that jersey to merit a first-round pick.
Vera-Tucker’s strengths lie in his fundamentals. His technique usually puts him in the right place and that helped him allow just seven total pressures while playing guard in 2019.
The issue for Vera-Tucker is his athleticism. While he put up 36 bench press reps at his Pro Day, his agility creates issues. His 3-cone drill time of 7.65 seconds was in the 66th percentile of this year’s class and his 4.61-second shuttle was in the 76th percentile. This could be an issue in the Vikings’ zone-based running scheme and it created more problems when Vera-Tucker was moved to tackle last season at USC.
The concerns with Vera-Tucker’s athleticism should limit him to guard, but that shouldn’t be a problem. While there could be prospects that offer a higher ceiling, Vera-Tucker offers the high floor, which is something Minnesota should be interested in if they trade down from pick No. 14.