Class of 2013 (Milpitas H.S.): Vita Vea stood at 6’3, 270 lbs., and was recruited as a defensive end by the likes of Oregon, UCLA, and his current team Washington. Now in 2017, Vea stands at 6’5, 344 lbs. and is dominating the trenches of college football. I don’t know what the Washington scouts and coaches saw in Vea, but they now look like geniuses. They decided to move him inside to defensive tackle, and Vea hasn’t looked back for a second.
A player I had as a potential first round pick in the 2017 draft, Vea decided to return to Seattle for his redshirt junior season. After Washington’s magical season, Vea along with Azeem Victor should be the leaders of a defense that have now lost Budda Baker, Sidney Jones, and Kevin King. A prospect whom not much know about, let’s take a look at Vea’s strengths and weaknesses and diagnose where he sits here early in the 2018 draft process.
Power: You might expect this from a 6’5 344 pound giant like Vea, but don’t discount this as a mere byproduct of his size. This kid is unbelievably strong. Often, even playing with less than ideal leverage, Vea will effortlessly push around blockers and collapse the pocket or fill a running lane. Handling double teams will not be a problem at all for Vea if he uses proper body position, and that ability is essential for interior defensive lineman. His pure, grown man strength continued to wow me play after play, and I can’t wait to see him continue to dominate in this upcoming season.
— Bradley Ylitalo (@NFL_drafthub) June 18, 2017
Dealing with Blocks: Certainly, with the kind of strength he has, you would hope to see him be able to handle blocks well, and thankfully he does so convincingly. You see so many plays with Vea that won’t end up on the stat sheet. Plays where Vea plugs up a running lane by getting to the outside shoulder of the guard before they can push him back, this then forces the running back to go off course and more often than not leads to an overall positive play for the defense. As for the pass rush, the Huskie is very good at getting his arms fully extended and driving back lineman into the quarterback. I wouldn’t say he has elite pass rush moves necessarily, but he’s certainly very effective.
— Bradley Ylitalo (@NFL_drafthub) June 21, 2017
Run Defense: This is where Vea simply makes it look too easy. Like I said earlier, his plays don’t always end up on the stat sheet. But ask his coaches and teammates who reap the rewards, and I bet you they didn’t miss these plays. Although not sexy, teams love to have somebody who can win nearly every time in the trenches, and that’s exactly what Vea is.
— Bradley Ylitalo (@NFL_drafthub) June 21, 2017
Quickness / Agility: This is the only concern I have with Vea. Thankfully, Vea should play nose tackle as either a 0 or 1 technique where you rarely go far outside of the tackles to make a stop. But unfortunately, this may limit him somewhat as a player and prospect. I remember a player by the name of Andrew Billings who was a Baylor Nose Tackle from the 2016 draft. With athleticism as his only real weakness (albeit even more of a weakness for Billings), he fell to the 4th round. A shock to many draft experts, it just shows how much the modern NFL values athletes. The point is, if there is one thing that will stop Vea from being a first rounder, it’s his lack of athletic ability.
Vita Vea is an elite prospect who I expect to be in the discussion for the All-American first team as the 2017 season goes on. With quickness and overall athleticism being his only real weakness, I can’t imagine Vea not becoming a very solid pro very early in his career. His level of dominance makes him one of the most fun players in all of college football to watch; I highly recommend looking at some tape on the kid. As for his draft status right now, I have him projected as a late first-rounder, but because of issues brought up earlier, I could see him slide down a little. Here’s hoping Vea puts his fantastic tool set altogether and becomes a Vince Wilfork level player!
Southern California: http://draftbreakdown.com/2017/05/12/vita-vea-vs-usc-2016/
Charity Fantasy Leagues
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