(Photo by Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)
The Steelers have a slew of players set to become unrestricted free agents next month, 19 to be exact, and they don't have much salary cap space to re-sign key starters like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Bud Dupree and Alejandro Villanueva. According to Overthecap.com, the Steelers are projected to be around $19 million over the cap.
Center Maurkice Pouncey retired earlier this month and the Steelers will need to find a replacement at left tackle with Villanueva most likely departing to another team in free agency. Matt Feiler, who played left guard this past season after playing right tackle the two previous seasons, is also set to become an unrestricted free agent. There's a good chance that the Steelers will have three new starters on their offensive line in 2021.
Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report wrote an article yesterday where he outlined every NFL team's dream draft target in 2021. Moton had USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker as the Steelers dream draft pick.
Below is a short summary of what Moton said about Vera Tucker and why he would be a good fit for the Steelers.
"At USC, Vera-Tucker played both guard spots and left tackle. Most recently, he lined up on the outside and fared well as a pass protector in addition to his solid blocking on run downs. The Steelers could add Vera-Tucker to the roster and see where he fits before they pigeonholed him into a specific spot, though his experience would likely lead to a starting role at guard. While filling different roles across USC's offensive line, Vera-Tucker displayed a unique combination of foot quickness and strength. The Steelers need those two qualities to open up running lanes for a ground attack that accumulated the fewest yards in the league this past season."
Vera-Tucker won the Morris Trophy in 2020, awarded annually to the best offensive and defensive linemen in the conference, as selected by opposing players. Vera-Tucker was also named first-team All-PAC 12 in 2020 and was selected as second-team All-PAC 12 in 2019.
Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network ranks Vera-Tucker as the 34th overall prospect and second-ranked guard, and has a second-round grade.
Below is an excerpt of what Pro Football Network said about the USC product.
"Vera-Tucker is an athletic, strong, and smart offensive lineman. He shows great athletic ability in getting out to the second level in the run game. He also moves well laterally in pass protection. The USC offensive tackle has exhibited great strength playing guard against powerful interior defensive linemen. He often showcases a “mauler” mentality in the run game."