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2021 NFL mock draft: New York Jets select Alijah Vera-Tucker

The Jets immediately look to protect their investment.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 02 Oregon at USC Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New York Jets are on the clock again in our Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft, in which our more frequent commenters make picks in our collective mock.

The Jets did the unthinkable with the second overall pick... they did exactly what we expect them to and drafted BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. Very un-Jets like.

But we my be looking at a different Jets team these days. With noted cake enthusiast Robert Saleh now the head coach, New York may be going through a Campbellesque culture change. Of course, POD commenter ButCanHePlayDT acting as Jets general manager may have something to do with it.

But with Wilson now on board, what’s the plan? Give Saleh a nice defensive piece, or immediately start to rebuild around that new quarterback.

Before we get into ButCanHePlayDT’s pick, take a look at how the board is fallen by checking out POD Community Mock Draft Tracker with grades.

With the 23rd pick in the POD Community Mock, the Jets have selected USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker.

Here’s ButCanHePlayDT explaining the pick:

Investing the second overall pick in your franchise quarterback means nothing if he’s flat on his back the entire time. Despite the addition of human steamroller Mekhi Becton at left tackle, the Jets’ offensive line woes continued in 2020. Not only did now-unemployed Adam Gase’s squad rank last in allowed pressure under 2.5 seconds, but New York also averaged merely 1.1 yards per carry before contact (third worst). The Jets’ reported offseason attempts to pursue Joe Thuney were for naught, as the 2019 second-team All-Pro made the bewildering choice of signing with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs over the 2-14 team from the Meadowlands.

The trenches situation in New York? Not great, Bob Saleh.

Needless to say, seeing USC standout Alijah Vera-Tucker inexplicably stumble down the draft board is a pleasant surprise. Voted best offensive lineman by the PAC-12’s defensive lineman, Vera-Tucker allowed only seven pressures at guard in 2019, before moving over to tackle in 2020. Quick-footed, technically-sound, and versatile, the former Trojan should help further solidify Zach Wilson’s blindside.

Vera, Vera, what will become of you?

Erik Schlitt’s thoughts:

ButCanHePlayDT is two for two in this draft, grabbing value and need at each of the Jets selections. RT Teven Jenkins (Oklahoma State) could also make sense here but Vera-Tucker is the higher rated player and is a big upgrade at left guard, which would allow them to feel comfortable with at least one side of their offensive line.

If the Jets wanted to go defense here, CB Caleb Farley (who was picked the selection before) would have been an ideal choice, and it’s a tick early for the next group of players. The Jets are on the clock again at pick No. 34, so keep an eye on Greg Newsome (Northwestern), Elijah Molden (Washington), and Asante Samuel Jr. (Florida State) in the second round.


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