Whenever a player is taken in the first round of the draft, expectations are high. Most fans and pundits expect instant impact. So what of Vita Vea?
In 7 games played, Vea has recorded 4 QB hurries, 2 solo tackles, 1 assist and 1 sack. Not Pro Bowl numbers by any stretch of the imagination. What cannot be ignored, though, is Vea lost most of camp and all of his preseason, even losing the opening games. Vea is, of course, behind in his development for these reasons, so certainly some leeway has to be given.
But is his game purely about the stats he generates? I’d say no. As I’ve previously mentioned on BritBuc’s Bites, what Vea brings to the team is more than pure stats. His ability to eat up blockers on the line won’t show up on anyone’s score card, but it’s a selfless act that allows the players around him to perform. Sadly, this theory isn’t playing out at present as the struggles of the defensive line are evident to all. I do feel, however, that a more aggressive scheme will turn this line loose, with Vea occupying offensive linemen and allowing others to rack up the stats.
Hopefully Vita Vea develops into the kind of player who will be good for 5-6 sacks a year. But what he brings is more than simple stats.