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Checking in on USC’s NFL rookies

USC’s rookies in the NFL are off to their teams and have participated in their first minicamps. We check in around the league to get looks at them in their new colors and see how they’re fitting in.

Alijah Vera-Tucker – New York Jets

Vera-Tucker already making an impact in the community.

The Jets gave up a lot to move up in the first round to grab Vera-Tucker, but there are high hopes for the offense in pairing Vera-Tucker with Mekhi Becton on the offensive line and turning to Zach Wilson at quarterback.

Talanoa Hufanga – San Francisco 49ers

During the one-on-one portion of a minicamp practice, Hufanga recorded an interception and nearly had another.

Marlon Tuipulotu – Philadelphia Eagles

Tuipulotu sat out minicamp with a hamstring tweak that happened a few weeks ago

The Philadelphia Inquirer provided a few shots of the rookies as camp broke, including one of Tuipulotu in jersey No. 90.

Amon-Ra St. Brown – Detroit Lions

St. Brown has been his typical straightforward, confident self when talking about his expectations in Detroit. The two quotes that have earned the most air time are when he said he’s coming to take someone’s job, and that he remembers the names of all 15 wide receivers drafted before him and is using that for motivation.

This, from NFL.com’s breakdown of St. Brown in Lions camp:

“The Lions’ revamped receiving corps doesn’t include an alpha. Tyrell Williams is the most accomplished wideout, with one 1,000-yard season early in his career, but didn’t play at all in 2020; Breshad Perriman is a former first-round pick who’s never been consistent; Quintez Cephus had a solid rookie campaign but profiles as a depth player; and Kalif Raymond has never been a full-time receiver.

The door is open for St. Brown to generate a massive target share for a mid-round rookie.

“I’m excited to be here,” St. Brown said during Lions rookie minicamp Sunday, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I’m excited to work and I’m ready to take someone’s job.”

During rookie camp, St. Brown reportedly lined up outside and in the slot. He profiles as an inside receiver with Perriman and Williams on the outside. Given the dearth of options in Detroit, St. Brown could become Jared Goff’s new Cooper Kupp — a trusty playmaker who can get open quickly from the slot and be an outlet — if he picks up the offense with ease.”

Jay Tufele – Jacksonville Jaguars

Tufele sat out minicamp for precautionary reasons, after a positive Covid test followed by a negative Covid test.

While he hasn’t seen the field yet, the Jaguars offered a look at what went on inside the draft room while selecting him at the top of the fourth round.

Tyler Vaughns – Indianapolis Colts

Vaughns’ relationship with former USC wide receiver Michael Pittman was a reason he signed with the Colts, and Vaughns also felt he fit best into that Indianapolis offense. He feels he has something to prove after going undrafted.

Olaijah Griffin – Buffalo Bills

Griffin is a name to watch as an undrafted free agent with the Bills, a team looking to compete in the AFC this season. Tre’Davious White is a clear starter at corner, but opposite him is returning undrafted free agent Levi Wallace, who has signed one-year deals each of the past two years.

Erik McKinney

Erik McKinney began writing for WeAreSC in 2004, during his junior year at USC, covering the Trojans football team and recruiting. He then moved on to ESPN.com in 2011, where he served as the West Region recruiting reporter and then the Pac-12 recruiting reporter. He took over as publisher of WeAreSC in January, 2019.

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