By: Hussam Patel
Amon-Ra St. Brown might be one of the most underrated WRs of this draft class, and that makes him very dangerous. As a film watcher, you typically don't see a WR get down and dirty around the line of scrimmage, the toughness isn't seen most of the time. With St. Brown, its clearly evident that he is a blue-collar worker who can compete with almost anybody.
He routinely makes contested catches with his competitiveness and big-play ability. In the passing game, he can catch any short, intermediate or deep pass, as he excels in all three phases with competitiveness and big-play ability. His quick feet allow him to stop on a route cut and create separation from defenders in zone coverage; he also bullies corners in man coverage. The Trojan product can excel in either a vertical or West Coast offense, using him either as a possession receiver or big play threat down the field.
St. Brown has tremendous football IQ and is a polished route runner, which arguably is his greatest strength; he can run the entire route tree and not give away little nuances to defenders. His frame lacks physicality, so he might not be able to help out a lot in the run game. He might also struggle releasing off the line against physical and bigger-bodied corners, especially 3-5 yards around the scrimmage, but he makes up for it with different releases and excellent footwork
St. Brown can work admirably against zone coverage, as he knows the exact spots where defenders may not be able to reach him to gain yards after the catch. He can separate, make contested catches, work in space and trick defenders with his route running ability. He might not be a 1st rounder depending on where the board falls, but would be a great Day 2 pickup.
While Alijah Vera-Tucker played Left Tackle at USC, he is more suited as a left guard in the NFL. As evidenced by his balance and body control, Vera-Tucker’s athleticism is always on display in pass protections - he's very fluid in his movements.
Per PFF, Vera-Tucker allowed a QB pressure on less than 2% of his pass-blocking snaps as a Trojan, which puts him in an elite tier. He also finished with an 89.2 grade on pass blocking sets, the highest of any lineman. That will translate exceptionally well when he plays guard in the NFL. As a run blocker, Vera-Tucker jumps quickly off the line, uses his athleticism to shift his body into favorable positions, and gains leverage to remain active and push the pile.
His raw power is seen in the running game and going downfield; he moves interior lineman out of the way to create holes, and screen blocks well in the passing game. Vera-Tucker is a mauler in my view, and his tape proves it. He moves people out of the way to let the play develop and consistently wins reps in the run game by just plowing people out of the way. The Trojan product is a tough and physical player who moves defenders with sheer force. His hands are powerful with impressive grip to hold down rushers, and he lowers his pad level to maintain leverage.
Vera-Tucker isn’t a complete player yet, but has all the tools to succeed. The coaching staff that drafts him will be able to use him as a swing guard/tackle position to contribute early on in his career and shift him to a permanent role once he develops. Playing both Guard and Tackle is certainly beneficial to Vera-Tucker as teams look to add versatility in their OL room and will increase his draft stock.
Jay Tufele is another three down interior defensive lineman who can help a team solidify its depth and become a potential starter within two years. Tufele is a bullet off the snap, using his quickness to get off the snap and decrease opposing quarterbacks drop backs. He has a non-stop motor, and his athleticism is off the charts. This allows Jay to be disruptive, and he does a great job at pushing his opponent backward.
While most Defensive Linemen do indeed get to make tackles at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield, Tufele usually doesn’t make the tackle. Instead, he holds blockers, sheds them, and allows other linemen and linebackers to hit the gap and come in as the second defender to finish the tackle. This is a major advantage, as he can run stuff, allowing him to do the dirty work while his teammates make plays.
In the passing game, he has explosive hands and typically defeats single blocks. He will get his pad level high which hinders him to some degree, but he’s is explosive, disruptive, and can play on all three downs. The only issue was his consistency freshman and sophomore years, as he didn't do much, but he exploded onto the scene in his Junior year.
Tufele certainly made some money and definitely increased his draft stock during his pro day. He ran a 4.98 unofficial 40 time, with 30 reps on the bench press. Look for Tufele to be a late day 2/early day 3 pickup to bring depth to a team’s DL room.
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