Vita Vea raised some eyebrows with his play down the stretch. It landed the Buccaneers defensive tackle on PFF’s All-Rookie squad.
Pro Football Focus named Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Vita Vea to its All-Rookie Team.
After ending his season on a high note, Vea showed how valuable he could be as a menace in the run game. Vea even flashed his immense strength as a pass rusher, barreling over lineman on his way to the quarterback.
Although he performed well as the season went on, his career in Tampa Bay got off to a less than ideal start. Trainers carted Vea off the field during training camp, hindering much of the progress he made leading up to his rookie season.
He started the season behind and the 8-ball, and it showed. Vea was a step slow until he exploded against the San Francisco 49ers in an eye-popping performance. He recorded his first sack and finally introduced himself to the fan base.
Despite criticism surrounding the Bucs decision to select Vea with the 12th pick of the Draft, he proved that it was the right move. His 26 total pressures and 17 total stops were right up there Gerald McCoy‘s numbers.
If Vea can already mirror McCoy‘s production as a rookie, there could be a changing of the guard for the Tampa Bay front seven very soon.
Remember, McCoy is due $13 million next season. The Bucs can cut him without a cap penalty. General manager Jason Licht may be comfortable enough with what he saw from Vea to move on from the former All-Pro.
The accolade should bring some excitement for the future of the Buccaneers’ defense. Vea could be a dominant force up the middle for years to come. He may have gotten off to a slow start, but it seems like it happened a lifetime ago.
With a healthy offseason and a full training camp, Vea should be in line to be one of the key cogs of the Tampa Bay front seven.