The Jets have pulled off a huge move, trading up and drafting USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker with the No. 14 overall pick.
Joe Douglas strikes again.
The Jets have officially traded up from the No. 23 overall pick to No. 14 in the first round, swapping picks with the Minnesota Vikings. In the deal, the Jets provided the Vikings with the No. 23, 66, and 86 overall picks. The Jets additionally received the No. 143 overall selection.
And with the 14th pick, Gang Green has drafted USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker.
Many pondered over the possibility of the Jets drafting an offensive lineman; they definitely needed a talented tackle or interior lineman to work alongside the rising star that is left tackle Mekhi Becton. Vera-Tucker employs a great level of versatility and is expected to provide Zach Wilson with consistent protection.
How Alijah Vera-Tucker will fit into the roster
Since the Jets gave up a haul in order to trade up and draft Alijah Vera-Tucker, you bet they’re expecting him to make an impact right away. The new coaching staff — including head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur — will likely start Vera-Tucker at one of the two guard spots.
If he efficiently develops, there’s a chance the Jets could move him to the exterior of the line and have him perform at the right tackle position.
Sure, George Fant is at that spot right now and is likely to retain his starting job in 2021. But he won’t be there forever — the veteran right tackle has two years remaining on his contract and could be out of Florham Park following the 2021 season.
All in all, this is a spectacular pick, regardless of the fact the Jets sent away a number of selections to move up. The team needed offensive line help, simple as that. New York employed one of the worst units in the league last year and thus needed to resolve the issue in order to provide Zach Wilson with the right assistance.
Ensuring Wilson makes a smooth transition into the NFL and undergoes an efficient on-field development should be one of the organization’s top focal points. Drafting Vera-Tucker and therefore enhancing the talent level on the offensive line will assist with that crucial task.
Now, the Jets could potentially utilize their second-round pick (No. 34) on a receiver and provide Wilson with yet another talented target in the passing game.