CBS Sports’ Patrik Walker has released his final mock ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft, and projects the Pittsburgh Steelers to select Southern California offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker in the first round.
“Nothing to see here from a QB perspective, and the Steelers planned for that by keeping Ben Roethlisberger onboard for 2021,” Walker writes. “Given his age and possible decline, help him as well as whomever eventually becomes his successor by putting Vera-Tucker in the black and yellow. Double back and find a RB afterward.”
While Vera-Tucker is sometimes listed as a guard, he was an accomplished tackle at USC as well. He earned First-Team All-Pac 12 honors in 2020.
Vera-Tucker is projected to play guard because he is said to lack the prototypical size and length of a tackle at the NFL level, but do not be fooled, he has the ability and technique to excel at either.
Listed at just over 6-foot-4, 308 pounds, Vera-Tucker displays necessary athleticism as a pulling guard and demonstrates strong, consistent hand placement.
The Steelers had the worst rushing attack in the league a season ago. While many want them to select a running back to rectify this, Pittsburgh needs to first address the offensive line deficiencies. Vera-Tucker will fix them.