From now until the 2018 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#50 Vita Vea /Washington NG/DT– 6’5” 340 lbs.
–Very light feet for a man his size
–Overpowers blockers from the snap
–Striking blows on offensive linemen
–Keeps moving up and down line finding the ball
–Strong run defender
–Hard to move when using balanced stance
–Can play up and down the defensive line
–Despite being a junior, Vea is already 23 years old
–Tends to overextend and lose balance
–Can get to high out of stance which causes him to lose power advantage
–Has some issues combating double teams
–Impatient using technique, if not immediately successful will go back to power
–Needs to improve pass defense and develop other move than bull-rush
–Motor runs hot and cold
–2017 Second Team All-American
–2017 Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year
–College statistics: started 18 collegiate games, finished with 100 tackles (66 solo), 6 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles, 2 blocked kicks, 8 sacks, and returned a punt 17 yards.
–Played four years of high school varsity as a running back and defensive lineman (senior year had 89 tackles with 8 sacks while rushing for 589 yards and 11 TDs).
Out of a 4 point stance, Vea lines up on the outside shoulder of the center. He shoots across the line of scrimmage at the snap, stays low while getting into the pads of the center. #50 keeps dragging the offensive lineman back and takes a one-handed swipe at the quarterback. That was enough to break down the pocket, allowing a fellow Huskie to bring down the signal caller. This play shows the power of the defender when he stays square and low.
Lined up on the outside shoulder of the right guard, #50 comes up too high out of his stance at the snap of the pigskin, straight into a double team. Vea swats the right guard away and leaves his feet diving for the fleet-footed Penn State quarterback. The defender whiffs, but rolls through to watch his teammate bring the ball carrier down. The former Huskie is very athletic, but the only reason he got away from the double team is that the o-linemen mistakenly thought the runner was already past them. #50 got way too high out of his stance at the jump and looked like he was dancing with the guard and tackle.
Heads up across from the right guard, the defender screams through the line of scrimmage too high and gets too much penetration. Vea is easily taken out of the play by the center, but his disruption breaks the levy for the rest of Rutgers o-line which allows the runner to get swallowed up. Even when not making the smart play, #50 still creates blocking problems.
Vea lines up almost helmet to helmet on the center. He comes across a little high off the snap, but uses his upper body to stonewall the center’s efforts. #50 sees Bryce Love running path and throws the blocker away while muckling onto the runner, bringing him to the ground with some of his Huskie friends. When the defender can overpower and find the ball, he is difficult to stop.
Vita Vea is a great physical prospect that needs more development. He mostly likely be long gone when the Steelers pick in the first round. While I believe he could grow into a good nose guard, the former Huskie might make a better 3-tech in a 4-3 scheme. The Haloti Ngata comparisons have some merit.
Projection: Day One
Games Watched: vs. Washington State, @ Penn State, @ Rutgers, @ Stanford