Analyzing Vita Vea as an option
The battle for the top nose tackle spot in the 2018 NFL Draft is currently between Payne and Vita Vea. While I happen to be a bigger fan of Payne, there is a case to be made for Vea as a potential first round pick, and a possibly a top 10 pick.
Calling Vea a big man would be an understatement. In fact, he is massive. At the Combine, Vea weighed in at a whopping 347 pounds on his 6-foot-4 frame, and he managed to run the 40-yard dash in a mere 5.10 seconds despite his size. That’s frankly incredible, and would have done a lot to improve upon his stock had he not been injured in his second run.
Speaking of the injury, that is a minor concern for Vea, but it won’t affect his draft stock. He just tweaked a hamstring running and will be completely fine. Still, teams looking into Vea may want to just check his medical history a bit closer and examine him a bit more. This is solely because bigger players can sometimes have trouble recovering from leg injuries. But again, this minor malady shouldn’t impact his stock as he doesn’t come with any major medical red flags.
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In terms of skill set, Vea, like Payne, should be an excellent run stuffer at the next level. At Washington, Vea recorded 39 and 43 tackles in his final two seasons, and he actually chipped in with a combined 8.5 sacks over those final two seasons. He was an anchor for the defense, and he was considered to be one of the team’s best players.
Despite the pass rushing production, there is a chance that it may not translate to the NFL level as well. Vea will be relying on his strength and size to push around interior offensive linemen. That is completely fine, and he will definitely have success doing it in the run game. But, he won’t be as athletic by comparison at the NFL level. But no matter what, Vea should be a quality starter at the NFL level.