Football

Trojan Tracker: 2021 NFL Draft, Day 1

Follow along here for USC-related updates from the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

The 2021 NFL Draft is underway and seven Trojans anxiously wait to find out their professional home. Offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker is the only USC player expected to be taken in the first round. This page will update throughout the night with any Trojan selections and other USC-related news.

New York Jets, Pick 14: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL

Alijah Vera-Tucker is headed to New York. The New York Jets traded the 23rd overall pick and two third-round selections (66 and 86) to the Minnesota Vikings to move up to the 14th pick and secure the offensive lineman. In return, the Jets also receive a fourth-round pick (143).

Vera-Tucker started all six games at left tackle for USC in 2020, switching from his previous position at guard in 2019. His versatility makes him an interchangeable piece.

Vera-Tucker heard his name called at home in Oakland, Calif., surrounded by family and friends.

In 2020, the Trojan captain made the All-Pac-12 first team and won the 2020 Morris Trophy for top Pac-12 offensive lineman. Throughout his USC career, he played in 31 games, starting 19.

At USC’s Pro Day on March 24, the 6-foot-4, 308-pounder showcased his athleticism with a 5.10 40-yard dash, 4.61 shuttle and 7.65 cone drill. He jumped a 32-inch vertical and 8′10″ broad. On the bench, he pushed 36 reps.

Vera-Tucker joins the 2020 11th overall pick Mekhi Becton on the left side of the offensive line in defending Gang Green’s new quarterback, No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson from BYU.

ESPN Jets beat reporter Rich Cimini said it best: “This is a pick that marries need and value.”