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2018 NFL Draft prospect profile: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

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Could the Giants’ possibly pair Vea with Damon Harrison?

NCAA Football: UCLA at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants already have the best nose tackle in the league in Damon Harrison, as well as the best rookie defensive tackle to come out of the 2018 draft in Dalvin Tomlinson.

They couldn’t possibly be looking to add to their defensive line as they move to a 3-4 defense, could they?

If circumstances allow, they might well be, as they have used one of their valuable Top 30 visits to host Washington Huskies defensive tackle Vita Vea. Vea is seen by many as the top defensive tackle in the 2018 NFL draft, and a potential (even likely) top-15 pick.

If pick and value line up, could the Giants select Vea in the first round?

Measurables

Pros

  • Uncommon blend of size, power, quickness, and agility.
  • Incredible power. Easily able to overwhelm single blockers and commands double-teams in the running game.
  • Disruptive behind the line of scrimmage. Able to collapse pockets or shoot gaps as a pass rusher.
  • High revving motor. Never gives up on a play and consistently pursues when the play goes away from him.
  • Impressive club move. Can send linemen reeling.
  • Uses length and power will to play off blocks or simply discard them at will.

Cons

  • Size might lead to conditioning concerns.
  • Long speed is an issue. Pursues plays, but isn’t going to run anyone down from behind.
  • Arms are on the short side, might fall below some teams’ thresholds.

Prospect Video

What They’re Saying

“Vea’s tape can frustrating because he flashes star potential one series and then looks average the next. With that said, he’s still very raw and should be judged by his ability rather than just his results as he should unlock his potential with more coaching. Vea has the size and power to play nose in an odd or even front and he could be targeted by 3-4 teams looking for dominant run defender on the end. He should work into a defensive line rotation immediately and has the ability to become a good NFL starter for years.”

- Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Does He Fit The Giants?

Players built like Vita Vea, 6 feet, 4 inches, weighing 350 pounds, aren’t exactly common, but neither are they unheard of. However, players his size who are able to move like he does, are definitely rare. Vea is in the company of defensive tackles like Damon Harrison, Dontari Poe, or Haloti Ngata as true “dancing elephants”, players who have enormous size and incredible movement skills for their size.

Vea’s blend of size, power, athleticism, and motor are a fit in every defense.

But in a way, Vea’s size is almost a curse -- because of the imposing figure he cuts, he will invariably be looked at as a nose tackle -- a 2-gapping space eater who specializes in clogging running lanes right in the middle of the defense -- by some, even many, teams.

And if that is his future in the NFL, that would be a true shame. Vea’s movement skills and evident power are certainly useful as a run defending rock in the middle of the defense, but he is also incredibly capable as a disruptor, attacking the B or C - gaps and making plays in the backfield. Not only is he fully capable of walking centers or guards (or both at the same time) back into the laps of quarterbacks, but he also has a devastating club move that tends to rag-doll blockers, allowing him to shoot gaps like a much smaller player.

Vea can, and has, played all over the defensive line, and would be a fit anywhere on the Giants’ defensive line. He could play the nose tackle or the 4i or 5-technique in a base defense, as well as a 2i or 3-technique in a nickel package.

The Giants probably wouldn’t draft Vea unless they trade down, but a front of Vea, Harrison, and Dalvin Tomlinson would have to be absolutely terrifying for opposing offensive lines.