Alijah Vera-Tucker has been receiving high praise this season, no matter which position he plays on the New York Jets offensive line. In fact, teammate Connor McGovern seems ready fit Vera-Tucker for a gold jacket and usher him straight to the Football Hall of Fame.
“In my opinion, ‘AVT’ is a future Ring of Famer, if not Hall of Famer,” McGovern, the Jets center, said Monday. “The dude’s a freak. He’s the epitome of a great offensive lineman.”
That’s quite a statement about a player who has 21 games on his NFL resume.
Vera-Tucker, though, has been quite impressive since being selected No. 14 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. He started 16 games at left guard as a rookie and received some Pro Bowl consideration.
This season, the former USC standout has excelled with the Jets offensive line in a constant state of flux. Vera-Tucker played the first three games at right guard. He started at left tackle in Week 4 after George Fant landed on IR with a knee injury. Then this past week, he started at right tackle when Duane Brown was elevated from IR to start on the left side (despite a reported torn rotator cuff) and rookie Max Mitchell, who’d been starting at right tackle, was placed on IR with a knee injury.
“He’s a selfless warrior”
– Robert Saleh on Alijah Vera-Tucker pic.twitter.com/cwcQvDtlTy
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) October 10, 2022
Despite the head-spinning circumstances, Vera-Tucker has deftly moved from position to position. And he’s been a standout performer, even this past week when he played right tackle for the first time at any level.
“He’s a selfless warrior,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “Whatever you ask of him, he’s going to do.”
Vera-Tucker has played all 361 offensive snaps and allowed one sack this season. Pro Football Focus has him graded as the Jets top offensive lineman overall (74.5).
Again, these numbers are with Vera-Tucker playing a different position nearly every week.
“It’s incredible what he’s done,” Saleh said. “He’s been lights out.”
It might be a little early, but perhaps McGovern is on to something about Vera-Tucker and his long-term greatness.
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