Vita Vea, DT, Washington
6’4”, 347 lbs
40-yd Dash: 5.1 seconds
Bench Press: 41 reps
2017: 43 Tackles, 5.5 Tackles For Loss, 3.5 Sacks
2016: 39 Tackles, 6.5 Tackles For Loss, 5 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble
2015: 17 Tackles, 3 Tackles For Loss, 1 Sack, 1 Forced Fumble
2017 Second-Team All-American
2017 All-Pac-12 First Team
2017 Morris Trophy Winner
2017 Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year
2017 Academic All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention
2017 Bednarik Award Semifinalist
2016 Second-Team All-Pac-12
2016 Academic All-Pac-12 Second Team
At 6’4”, 347 lbs, Vita Vea is a mammoth of a defensive tackle. Most players his size are limited as run stuffing nose tackles. And while he excels in that role, Vea can play any position on a defensive line due to his ridiculous athleticism. He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.1 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine which is practically unheard of at his size. Opposing offenses consistently were forced to double or triple-team him, and he still found ways to impact plays. Washington’s defense always had linebackers unblocked because of the amount of attention Vea drew. The star defensive tackle also has a great motor and doesn’t give up on plays. He shows a high football IQ and often recognized screens and took excellent angles when in pursuit.
At times, Vea relies purely on his natural athleticism and his technique occasionally takes a hit as a result. He needs to become more consistent with his hand usage because when he does use his hands properly, he dominates offensive lineman. Vea also would benefit from lowering his pad level to gain more leverage, he is already tall at 6’4” so playing a little lower would help him tremendously. Like his hand usage, there are times he plays with proper leverage but he needs to do it on a consistent basis.
From a physical standpoint, Vita Vea might be the most imposing player in the 2018 NFL Draft. I can’t remember the last time I watched a player of his stature move so well. He will be an asset in the NFL due to his ability to draw double and triple-teams freeing up his teammates. With a little more coaching on hand placement and leverage, Vea will become an even more refined pass rusher to combine with his already dominant run defense.
Fit with Raiders
I had an imagination of the Raiders drafting Vita Vea and signing Muhammed Wilkerson in Free Agency, and I busted out laughing. Imagine Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin, Vea, and Wilkerson on the same defensive line. Even if the Raiders don’t add Wilkerson, the addition of Vea to the Raiders is a problem for offenses. Teams would be forced into choosing whether to double-team Khalil Mack, or Vea. Either way, Irvin and one of those two will be on a single-block which is bad news for offenses. The Raiders haven’t had an impactful interior defensive lineman since Richard Seymour. This could quickly change if the Silver and Black select the Washington defensive tackle with the 10th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He has already met with the Raiders coaching staff.