There is no denying the Indianapolis Colts will draft an offensive tackle at some point during the 2021 NFL draft, and most believe it will happen in the first two rounds.
Looking to identify “forward-thinking fits” defined by Pro Football Focus as trying to “identify current areas of strength that may become areas of need in the next one to two years.” It should be no surprise what position that is, and the prospect that they gave the Colts would be a strong value at No. 21 overall.
That prospect is former USC offensive tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker.
It’s no secret that Indianapolis is still in need of a left tackle following the retirement of Anthony Castonzo earlier this offseason. If Sam Tevi and Julie’n Davenport are the answers heading into 2021, Carson Wentz may be in trouble in his first season with the team.
Vera-Tucker played that left tackle position this past season for USC, but his 32-inch arms will mean that most teams could project him at guard. That’s simply a measurement distinction because Vera-Tucker did play well at left tackle for the Trojans in 2020 (81.8 overall grade). The Colts could opt to see how he performs first at tackle if he’s their pick in the first round.
Vera-Tucker is considered a top-20 prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft by many analysts, even if he does come in at 34th on PFF’s Big Board. The Colts could view him as an upgrade over Mark Glowinski, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason, at right guard if he does need to slide inside.
Outside of some believing Vera-Tucker should move inside, the Colts have proven they don’t see that being an issue. Current right tackle Braden Smith may have been drafted as a guard due to his 32.25-inch arms (9th percentile), but he’s turned into one of the best right tackles in the game.
If the Colts believe his size, agility and technique is good enough, they should have no problem plugging Vera-Tucker in as the replacement for the recently-retired Anthony Castonzo.
It will be interesting to see how the Colts go about using the No. 21 pick. If they don’t trade back and Vera-Tucker is available, it will be hard for Chris Ballard to pass that up.