Defensive tackle battle: Vita Vea vs Beau Allen vs Mitch Unrein
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a pretty surprising move in the first round with the selection of the massive nose tackle, Vita Vea.
After signing Beau Allen and Mitch Unrein in free agency, it appeared Tampa had their nose tackle situation settled. However, they took Vea anyway and it has caused a log jam in the middle of their defense.
It’s a great problem to have, but it won’t be solved until well into training camp.
Vea was a stud in college. In his three seasons as a Husky, he recorded 99 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
He won’t put up flashy numbers, his job is to take up space and clog running lanes and he did just that at Washington. At 350 pounds he ran a 5.1 40-yard dash at the combine, impressing scouts with a surprising burst.
Another leading candidate to win a starting job is Allen. In his time with the Philadelphia Eagles, Allen was a key rotational piece and fan favorite. Similarly to Vea, he is much more of a run stuffer than a pass rusher. The Buccaneers believe in his potential as they signed him into 3-year, $15 million deal.
The other free agency addition has been more of an afterthought but could sneak up on some people. Unrein, formerly of the Chicago Bears, had a nice season as a backup last year in the windy city.
He posted 32 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 12 games. Those aren’t bad numbers for the unheralded former Bear. Primarily as a defensive end in Chicago, Unrein is set to move inside like he was in Denver to start his career. While he isn’t likely to start due to the other guys on the depth chart, he could see more minutes next to Gerald McCoy than some could expect this season.