Why The Detroit Lions Should Consider Taking Vita Vea At Pick Twenty In The 2018 NFL Draft.
Earlier this week, I talked about why the Lions desperately need to address the defensive tackle position in my scouting profile of Maurice Hurst. While Hurst could be the direction the Lions go to address that need, Vita Vea from Washington could make an even stronger case for the selection for Detroit’s 1st round pick.
Why Should Detroit Consider Vita Vea?
Vita Vea is a very interesting prospect because his build would slate him as a prototypical nose tackle at 6’5″ 340 lbs. However, Vea moves deceptively fast at his weight, closing quite well for a man of his size. His lateral quickness looks stiff at times, but he typically makes great angles and uses his short area acceleration to make up it. While he may have the size to be a 0′ or 1′, most of his best plays come from playing 3′, and even further outside at the 5′.
This versatility has become a coveted trait for Detroit Lions players since Bob Quinn took over the general manager position two off-seasons ago. However, what really separates Vea from the rest of the interior defensive line group is his immense strength.
This is a great sequence by Vea against double teams. It is important for a man who is as big as he is to be able to continually produce against double teams, as he is the most likely to draw that attention. His strength is too much for lineman to be asked to handle one on one. The first play he gives a great check to the tackle completely off balance on the stunt. It gives him enough room to split the double team and look inside for the sack. The second play also shows a recognition to get his hands in the passing lanes to stop the dump-off pass.
While Vea definitely has a proclivity for run stuffing, he has shows real ability to produce as a pass rusher as well. These two plays help illustrate why you should not leave him to be single blocked. In the top clip above, he shows just how devastating his bull rush can be which his immense strength, long reach, and great leverage. In the bottom clip, he displays his top this strength again, this time combining it with heavy hands to shed the blocker before registering the sack.
There is no denying that Vita Vea’s strength is his best attribute. But his athleticism at his weight, his hand usage, and great leverage all help him become a force against the ground game. His ceiling as a pass rusher could be quite high as he is still learning pass rushing technique, but has shown great production from his innate physical gifts. While some may like Hurst better for Detroit’s 1st round selection, Vea offers much more scheme versatility and if he can refine his pass rushing skills, should be the best interior lineman in the class.