Vita Vea – DT
Each facet of the defense features someone who should make their first Pro Bowl in 2021, so we’ll start up front and work our way out.
Vita Vea doesn’t just have the potential to make his first Pro Bowl, he has the chance to be named All-Pro for the first time. Vea’s numbers won’t pop off the stat sheet, such is life for a noseguard, but his impact on the defense cannot be overstated.
Per Next-Gen Stats, when Vea is on the field, the defense’s pressure and sack rates each go up by about five percent, and the Bucs give up about a yard less per carry. The Buccaneers front-seven is maybe the best in the league, and it’s thanks to the gargantuan Vea is usually swallowing up two or three blockers at a time, which allows the rest of the front seven to hunt, then eat.
Vea is the motor that makes this well-oiled machine that is the Bucs defense go, and if the defense shows out, Vea should get the credit. His impact was seen immediately when he miraculously returned from injury to play in the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl LV.
With the Buccaneers hopefully getting a full season of Vea in 2021, look for him to be mentioned amongst the NFL’s elite. Our next entry may already be there.