Three years ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded down in the first round of the draft and took Vita Vea with the 12th overall pick. During his rookie season Vea sprained his calf. The result was missing the majority of training camp and the beginning of the season. After playing in the last 14 games, starting eight of them, Vea registered 26 tackles and 3 sacks.
Second Times The Charm
His Sophomore season saw Vea start all 16 games. During that campaign he made 35 tackles, including four tackles for a loss, three sacks and Three passes defended. He also recorded the a one yard touchdown pass. His 56 total pressures ranked as the sixth most among all interior defensive lineman.
The Next Step
Heading into his third season with the team, Vea already stout against the run, knows that pass rush is an area of his game he needs to work on.
“The first step starts in the film room, watching film and seeing what’s available, what moves I can do and learning from other people. And, watching film on the opponents and seeing how they pass. Also, just taking coaching from the coaches and working on what they tell me to work on.”
His coaches would agree that that is the next step to improve his game starting with head coach Bruce Arians saying.
“I think sacks. He did a good job of pushing the pocket, but he’s nimble on his feet. He should be a heck of a pass-rusher with that bulk. But his quickness, also, and just continue to put moves in his toolbox, continue to get better and use that strength.”
Todd Bowles Agrees
“I think he just has to use his hands more. We know he’s big and powerful, but he’s also fast and athletic, as well. He’s just got to get his hand placement down, use his hands more and not settle for the first time when he puts his hands on him and then try to bull [rush] him after that. He’s just got to swipe and rip and do all those things that Coach [Kacy] Rodgers is asking him to do. He does that more [and] he’ll be a little more effective.”
Even his fellow players believe a turn around in his pass rush is coming with defensive end Will Gholston saying.
“This year I think he’s going to be a complete and total monster and wreak havoc and total devastation when he’s ready to go.”
And Guard Ali Marpet saying.
“I’ve seen tremendous growth. Especially his pass rush…. he is a weapon, he is really good…. he’s come a long way in his pass rush and I think he’s gonna really give a lot of offensive lineman some issues in the pass game.”
This should be a breakout year for Vea. Going into his second year of Bowles system and full comprehension of the scheme and what is asked from him. Having a player of Ndamukong Suh’s caliber lined up next to him will only advance his progression into becoming one of the most dominant nose tackles in the league. With the full support of his teammates both offensive and defensive, his coach staff and knowing what he need to do himself I expect a very strong year from nose tackle Vita Vea.