Vita Vea – 6’4 344lb / DT / Washington
- Immense strength. The majority of Vea’s game relies on the power he possesses. Vita consistently looks two-times stronger than the opposition.
- Vita generates consistent push play-in and play-out. Whether it’s against run blocking or pass blocking; 90% of the time he win’s the battle.
- Vea has a big thick frame with a wide and powerful lower body. Vita is able to take on two blockers at once due to sheer size alone. The guy looks like a meat sack out there.
- Fantastic bull rush. Extends arms into the blockers chest and drives them back with his legs. Puts blockers on skates straight into opposing quarterbacks.
- Eats up double teams and rarely, if ever, gets phased by them. Vea has the ability to shimmy and split the blockers in two on the way to the QB.
- Holds his ground in run blocking and is able to clog lanes because of it. Disrupts run blocking concepts with is ability to drive linemen into the back field thereby throwing off the timing and the feel of the play
- Has the ability to line up on the edge and still be productive. Vita occasionally played the edge and he didn’t look like he was out-of-place. He is more that just a 0-technique defensive lineman.
- Not very fast and looks clunky when he runs. Appears as if he is running with 10 pound ankle weights at times.
- Spends too much time on the ground for how big and strong he is. More than likely just a lack of balance and coordination.
- Vea has a real bad habit of standing too high in the trenches. Allows blockers to get underneath his pads. However, he is strong enough to stand his ground and affect the play.
- Doesn’t have many pass rush moves in his toolbox. Almost exclusively uses a bull rush and, every once in a while, a rip move.
- Doesn’t shed blocks in the run game. He could if he wanted to but he is too focused on just latching on the blocker and driving them backwards.
- Fades out towards the end of games. There is a clear reduction in movement, speed, and power. Conditioning could be an issue.
- Bad tackler. Misses tackles trying to reach for the ball carrier instead of driving through for the tackle.
- Falls victim to movement in the pocket. Vulnerable to the quarterback sidestepping or moving up in the pocket.
Vita Vea in one word, is a powerhouse. His game is predicated on pure unadulterated power and lord knows he has a ton of it. His combination of size (6’4″ 344 lbs.) and strength allows him to consistently and routinely win at the point of attack. He drives blockers back disrupting both run concepts and pass blocking.
There is no technique, no finesse, nothing pretty about his game. However, there doesn’t have to be as his strength is efficient enough and allows him to win his gap down after down. If he plays 40 downs in a game, Vea is going to win 35 of them.
Now, with all this power, he has very limited movement and can appear uncoordinated. There are too many times where Vea trips or loses his footing. Furthermore, his ability to explode off of the snap is average at best. His brute strength hides these flaws though and what he does well, he does REALLY well.
Despite his size and power, Vea isn’t going to get many sacks and he isn’t going to make many tackles. In fact, he isn’t likely to make many impact plays. He just doesn’t have the speed or agility to make those kinds of things happen. Even if he does manage to get to the QB, more often than not he finds a way to miss.
What to Expect:
He isn’t Ndamakong Suh or Aaron Donald who make highlight plays look routine. He is never going to have a 10 sack season or be in the running for defensive player of the year. If teams draft him to be that player they are going to be disappointed in the end.
Instead, Vita is a piece to the puzzle. A guy you plug-in and know he is going to win his assignment frequently and open up opportunities for other players. Vea is an extremely safe player in the draft because teams know exactly what they are getting. If teams draft Vea to be a building block instead of a playmaker, they will more than satisfied.
How does he fit in with the Raiders
For the longest time the Raiders have lacked a player that generates consistent pressure from the inside of the defensive line. Mario Edwards was thought to be that person but cannot seem to stay healthy. Vanderdoes has a lot of the same injury issues. Although he has potential, whether he will be a consistent contributor is up in the air.
If the Raiders draft Vita Vea and slap him in the middle of that line, offenses are going to have to make some decisions on how they are going to account for every man along the defensive line. You can only double team so many people on passing downs. This could pay dividends for one Khalil Mack.
Vita Vea is a potential terror in one-on-one matchups. He might not get home and get a sack but he will do just enough to rattle the quarterback and take away his ability to step up in the pocket. If offenses decide they want to make sure Vea doesn’t get that push, then Khalil Mack is going to get unleashed with a one on one. With Justin Ellis most likely gone the Raiders are going to need a run stuffer for the interior of that line. There isn’t anyone on the roster right now that would be able to fill that role effectively and him being as big as he is would allow the linebackers to be better.
Vita Vea isn’t the sexiest pick for the Raiders. Fans expecting an exciting player who makes game changing plays will be disappointed. However, that doesn’t mean he’s the wrong pick.. He is the definition of a plug and play guy who will win his matchups consistently and be a rock in the middle for the next 7-10 years. What’s more, Vea is the perfect complement to Khalil Mack.
There is value for a player who does his job consistently and reliably. Yes, there are more exciting players in the draft. Yes, there is a lack of playmaking ability with Vita Vea. But, he is a safe pick who plugs a long-standing hole on the defensive line. Vea is an extremely strong, reliable playmaker who will elevate the play of his entire unit.
Written by: J’Rob