Why Alijah Vera-Tucker could make the most sense for the Cincinnati Bengals

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 17: (Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 17: (Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals should thoroughly consider drafting Alijah Vera-Tucker in the first round of this year’s draft. Now, this is more of a dream than an expected reality. However, it is something that the Cincinnati Bengals should very much ruminate on.

The first thing that would have to happen for this scenario to occur is the team would have to trade out of the fifth pick. Drafting Vera-Tucker with the fifth overall pick with LSU wide receiver Ja’marr Chase and or Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell on the board is highly unlikely.

Yet, if a trade back were to happen, it would accomplish a few things. First, this would allow the Bengals to pick up an extra third-round pick, at least. With that said, they cannot move down too far as Vera-Tucker is the consensus top guard in this year’s draft. According to Grind the Mocks, Vera-Tucker’s Expected Draft Position is 17th.

There is very little doubt that Tucker will come off the board before the 17th pick. Second, it would show that protecting Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is still the priority. Something that does not seem to be the case outside the building at this stage of free agency.

Third, it would allow the team to stick to their word of keeping Jonah Williams and newly acquired Riley Reiff as the bookend tackles for the 2021 season. Fourth, it would fill an immediate need at left guard with the best guard in the draft according to most draft experts. Vera-Tucker is a guard, who has the versatility to play tackle.

Unlike Hakeem Adeniji who is a pure tackle who was asked to play out of position with the Bengals. The difference in playing left tackle versus left guard is something that Vera-Tucker himself spoke to with Jordan Reid of the Draft Network.

According to Pro Football Focus, in 2018 and 2019, when Vera-Tucker who played guard for the USC Trojans, in 670 pass block attempts, he allowed a total of one sack, one hit, and six hurries. In 2020, the junior moved to left tackle.

In six games and 305 pass-blocking attempts, Vera-Tucker allowed four sacks, two hits, and two hurries according to PFF. Vera-Tucker held his own and was able to show pro scouts “positional versatility” that the Bengals seem to covet in their offensive linemen.

The Cincinnati Bengals have a chance to draft the best guard in the draft, who can start day one, who did it at a high level and showed positional versatility while picking up an extra pick in the process. That sounds like a win, win, win. Burrow gets a win, the fans get a win, the team gets a win, everybody gets a win!

It also sounds like wishful thinking at this point since all signs are pointing to either  Penei Sewell or a Burrow, Chase reunion. But, thanks to video evidence provided by NFL Network’s Omar Ruiz, we know that the Bengals offensive line coach Frank Pollack put the young guard through some paces at USC’s pro day.

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So maybe wishes do come true.