Vita Vea is the unsung hero of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ protection

It’s straightforward to miss Vita Vea on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers protection. Lavonte David and Devin White are two of the NFL’s greatest protection linebackers. Shaquil Barrett is an elite cross rusher on the skin. Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh are proud veterans who had been nonetheless productive of their 30s final 12 months. Antoine Winfield Jr. was one thing of a rookie sensation within the defensive backfield. In fact, the presence of Tom Brady overwhelms all the things else in terms of the Bucs.

Vea entered the league with loads of hype because the No. 12 total choose within the 2018 NFL Draft. He performed an important function on their Tremendous Bowl LV champion, however generally it takes a extra refined eye to understand his influence. Vea solely had 7.5 sacks mixed in his first three seasons, and suffered a fractured ankle that restricted him final season earlier than he returned deep into the playoffs.

Nostril deal with isn’t precisely essentially the most glamorous place on the sector. The job description traditionally entails the phrases “area eater.” Basically, the nostril deal with exists to free everybody else as much as run round and make performs. Even among the greatest nostril tackles we’ve seen lately — Ted Washington, Pat Williams, Vince Wilfork — aren’t the focus on their groups.

However for those who watched the Bucs’ comeback win in opposition to the Dallas Cowboys within the season opener on Thursday, it was arduous to take your eyes off Vea. It is because Vea is large and scary and completely dominant on the sector. He’s 6’4, 346 kilos of uncooked energy.

Vea was not credited with a deal with in opposition to Dallas, and nonetheless felt like he left an enormous influence on the sport. Watch him plow via the center of the Cowboys’ offensive line to get a strain on Dak Prescott right here:

Have a look at the way in which he blows up the offensive lineman right here:

Typically you’re greatest wager to carry and hope you get away with it:

The Bucs even lined him up as a fullback at occasions offensively. That’s a giant dude for a lead blocker.

At the same time as Brady completed with 379 yards and 4 touchdowns whereas main the ultimate drive to win the sport, there was case for Vea as essentially the most impactful participant of the sport. With out making a deal with!

Scariest half about this dude? He performed the entire recreation with no gloves and no tape. What a monster.

Vea isn’t scoring any fantasy factors this 12 months, and he’s most likely by no means going to be one of many first names talked about on the Bucs with Brady because the headliner and a lot defensive expertise round him. There’s little question that Vea is an absolute pressure, although. His play deserves to be acknowledged.


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