Chicago Bears cannot let Alijah Vera-Tucker fall past 20

Chicago Bears (Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images) /

Alijah Vera-Tucker has moved up and down the offensive line at USC. According to PFF, he played 139 snaps at right guard in 2018, 926 snaps at left guard in 2019, and 476 snaps at left tackle in 2020. The Chicago Bears have to start investing in their offensive line. Is the 21-year old lineman a good fit? Would he be worth a first-round pick?

Strengths to Alijah Vera-Tucker’s game

The biggest thing you notice with Vera-Tucker is that he is excellent in his foot movement. He works seamlessly into the second level and has the power to boost an outside running attack that requires an athletic lineman.

Take a look at the two plays below. In the first clip, Vera-Tucker is able to get his hands on three defenders. He starts with a quick chip at the line. He works into the second level and turns a linebacker around, taking him out of the play. Finally, Vera-Tucker gets to the backside linebacker, turning this into an explosive play.

It is not often you can credit an individual lineman for a run, but he made that hole and turned a nice run into a game-changing explosive run.

Watch the play below. Unfortunately, it is the TV copy and we lose him at the top of the screen, but you cannot miss his finish. His quicks and power are a nice combination.

Below you can see him pick up a stunt at left tackle as well. This is a smart and heady player who is aware of his surroundings.

Alijah Vera-Tucker brings versatility with experience at three positions as well. Many thought he was destined for guard, but when asked to kick outside, he excelled at tackle. This raises his ceiling significantly for a player who already had a high floor. Based on his 2020 tape, he was good enough to get a shot at tackle in the NFL.

Questions for Alijah Vera-Tucker transition into the NFL

The biggest question is whether or not he can stay at tackle. While he played well enough to earn the shot, the pass rushers at Oregon did expose the holes in his game that had him at guard. The biggest question with Vera-Tucker is his length.

In the play below you can see the defender get his arm inside his chest. He is able to push him back and stay clean, which helps him work an inside move back to the quarterback.

Vera-Tucker has nice recovery speed, but the freaks of nature are going to burn him off of the ball. You can see it in the play below. The defender had a step and is a premier college pass rusher. Alijah Vera-Tucker had no shot from there.

These issues do not come up at guard. You could be looking at an average to above-average tackle or an elite guard. Which is more valuable?

NFL Comparison for Alijah Vera-Tucker

I have to credit the Ringer NFL draft guide for coming up with this, but the comparison to Isaiah Wynn does make a lot of sense. When you watched Wynn at Georgia, you saw a clean tackle who could move fluidly to the second level. You saw no issues in run blocking, but questions surrounding length and losing against premier pass rush caused many to question whether he would be a guard in the NFL.

This caused Wynn to fall to 23rd overall. Wynn suffered an Achilles injury as a rookie, which was devastating, but when he has been healthy, he has been a sturdy left tackle for the New England Patriots. Health has been the question, but not whether his length was an issue on the outside.

Like Wynn, Vera-Tucker deserves a shot at tackle, and many teams will regret passing on a starting left tackle who falls to the 20s because of the position questions.

How would Alijah Vera-Tucker fit with Chicago Bears

The biggest issue is that the Chicago Bears pressing need on the line is right tackle. Vera-Tucker has moved around, but one of two positions he has not played is right tackle. Still, Vera-Tucker profiles as a great long-term replacement for Charles Leno.

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Leno is an athletic tackle whose ability to work in space is ideal for an outside zone scheme. Vera-Tucker would jump in and be a potential improvement to the explosiveness of the running game. The Bears could keep Leno and ease Vera-Tucker into the NFL.

Still, the long-term upside of getting a starting tackle to fall to 20 is worth swinging for him if he is there.