Washington football had five players selected in the 2018 NFL Draft, so how did they all perform?
Let’s start with Washington football’s big man, Vita Vea. Vea was taken with the 12th overall selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers(which, I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I predicted in the fall of 2017). The Bucs traded back with the Buffalo Bills from seventh overall, which ended up being used by Buffalo on quarterback Josh Allen, and Vea fell into their laps at 12. This pick was scrutinized by some, especially with first-team All-Pro and local Florida State product Derwin James still on the board, but Vea seems to have worked out.
What the scouts were saying: “Vita Vea is too often labeled as a two-gap player, but he’s a true athlete with the tools to stay on the field for passing downs. He’s more Haloti Ngata than Danny Shelton and could be the foundation of a 3-4 or 4-3 defensive line. He might be seen as scheme-limited, which could affect how highly he’s drafted.” Matt Miller- Bleacher Report
After the pick, Tampa Bay’s GM Jason Licht said that he “would have been happy to take him [at seven].” That shows the kind of potential that Vea has, and he flashed towards the end of his rookie season, which should have Tampa excited for the future.
It took a while for him to hit the field, as a calf injury sidelined him for over a month, but he didn’t disappoint once he hit the field. Vea’s best performance of the year came in Week 15 when he recorded nine total tackles. On the season, he totaled 28 tackles, four for loss. He also was able to get to the quarterback effectively, recording three sacks and four QB hits. His excellent production was recognized by Pro Football Focus on their All-Rookie Team.
What’s Next for Vea?
Playing next to Gerald McCoy helps him immensely, and if the Bucs invest in a cornerback like Greedy Williams or Byron Murphy in the first round, and go all in on their defense, he’s in line for a huge leap forward in year two.
The Buccaneers need to invest in their secondary, which will give Vea more time to get to the quarterback. He also will see more one on one matchups with offensive linemen and with the talent around him, including McCoy and Jason Pierre-Paul, Vea is going to be a force to be reckoned with during his second season.