This offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers acquired two very hopeful new defensive linemen, among others. Yet, the most hopeful new Bucs at the defensive front are Jason Pierre-Paul and Vita Vea.
Jason Pierre-Paul was acquired via free agency after spending the previous 8 years with the team who drafted him at spot number 15 in the first round, the New York Giants. The 6’5” defensive end has totally lived up to his lofty expectations so far. Pierre Paul is a force who seems to always find a way to wreak havoc on the opposing offensive line. In his first 8 years in the NFL, he recorded 58.5 sacks, 433 tackles and 47 defensed passes in a total of 111 games. Additionally, he has been to the Pro Bowl twice and he played a major role for the New York Giants when they won the Super Bowl in 2011.
Pierre-Paul is a Florida-native, who played at Raymond James Stadium during his college days with the University of South Florida. He should be ecstatic to play “back home” again. At 29 years old, the premier edge rusher should certainly have multiple years left at his very best.
Only a few weeks after the acquisition of Jason Pierre-Paul, Tampa Bay used its first round pick in this year’s draft on a much-needed defensive tackle, the first one to come off the board, to be exact. Vita Vea, out of Washington, seems to be capable of being the missing link that the Buccaneers’ defensive line might still have lacked, even after signing Pierre-Paul. The highly-anticipated Chris Baker experiment did not work out for the franchise, at all. Consequently, as far as needs are concerned, picking the huge 6’5” defensive tackle with their most valuable draft pick of the year was spot-on by General Manager Jason Licht.
On the other hand, though, Vea has not played one snap in the big league, yet, and, needless to mention, you never know how Rookies pan out. Even many of those, who have “superstar” written all over them, often fail to assert themselves at the next level. Vea‘s landing spot, however, could not have been much better for him personally, as he gets to play for a line with multiple Pro Bowlers, a line that, as of now, seems to be poised to be one of the best in the league.
To put it in a nutshell, both Pierre-Paul and Vita Vea should be huge contributors to Tampa Bay’s defensive success this upcoming season. As far as recording stats is concerned, they will help each other out by great individual play. To get back to the question in the headline, the edge goes to Jason Pierre-Paul, simply due to his experience. He has proven for years that he can perform at the highest level. Barring injuries, this Buccaneers defensive line should finally be a top unit in the NFL again… When was the last time we were able to say that?