The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded down in the first round and with the 12th overall selection of the 2018 NFL Draft, they selected Washington DT Vita Vea.
Vita Vea is a mountain of a man. 6′ 5″, 347 lbs but even at this weight, he still ran 5.1 in the 40. He was a high school running back. Vea finished his Husky career with 99 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 9 sacks at Nose Tackle.
What They’re Saying
Luke Easterling of draftwire.com describes him, “Vea’s physical skills are enough to marvel at on their own, but they’re maximized by his nonstop motor and competitiveness. He’s a rare prospect any defensive coordinator can build around, and those guys don’t stay on the board long once draft weekend rolls around.”
Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds says, “Vea is the clear-cut dominant tackle in this year’s draft class. With amazing strength (41 reps of 225 pounds) and tremendous movement skills for such a mammoth man, Vea is a once-in-decade player at defensive tackle. Keep in mind that Vea is still learning how to play the position after spending his time in high school as a 270-pound running back. Vea is just scratching the surface on how good he can become after recording 99 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles during his Huskies career.”
Pro Football Focus opines, “With similar builds, foot quickness, playing strength, run-defense prowess, ability to generate an interior pass-rush and to line up at different spots on the defensive line, the Haloti Ngata-to-Vita Vea comparison is a fair one. It would be well within reason to expect a similar type of rookie production from Vea as we saw from Ngata in his rookie season in 2007.”
NFL.com says, “Vea’s tape can frustrating because he flashes star potential one series and then looks average the next. With that said, he’s still very raw and should be judged by his ability rather than just his results as he should unlock his potential with more coaching. Vea has the size and power to play nose in an odd or even front and he could be targeted by 3-4 teams looking for the dominant run defender on the end. He should work into a defensive line rotation immediately and has the ability to become a good NFL starter for years.”
Wow. So kudos to the Pewter Report guys who’s been on the Bucs interest in Vea for a while now. With Derwin James still on the board, the Bucs continued to remake their defensive line with the manbeast Vea. He’s a mountain. He can’t be moved. He does have speed and have pass rush skills, but his strength is where he makes his money. Vea can dominate a game. He can play the NT or 3-tech and he’ll be the heir apparent to Gerald McCoy, who turns 30 this year.
Jason Licht is tired of seeing the Bucs defensive line pushed around. With the free agency additions and the trade for Jason Pierre-Paul, the Bucs should have the defensive line solved, which will help the rest of the defense.
The Bucs might not be done tonight, btw. With three 2nd round picks, they have the ammunition to trade back into the bottom of the first round.