Buccaneers: 3 players on the verge of career-best seasons in 2021
By Rob Leeds
The Buccaneers will have the second-best defensive lineman in the NFL in 2021
Second-best hurts to say, but it’s hard to be the best defensive lineman in the NFL when Aaron Donald plays in the same area. Vea will undoubtedly be the best nose tackle in the league by the end of the year, but only saying that takes away from just how much Vea brings to the table.
Vea is already an outstanding player. It feels funny to think about it now, but it wasn’t that long ago that the fanbase was irate over Vea’s selection over Derwin James. James is a great safety when healthy, but the injuries have been too much to overcome so far. Vea brings more to this team and has been healthy much more than James, and it is easy to say the Bucs made the perfect decision during that draft.
After a slight bump in the road in 2020 with an injury, Vea shut down any concerns about his return during the playoffs. Typically, a return so late in the season and during such a pivotal time would be next to impossible for most players, but Vea is in a league of his own.
With size like a nose tackle but speed and strength of a speed rusher, Vea gives the Bucs the best of both worlds in one of the most idealized NFL bodies imaginable.
If you want to run the ball against the Bucs, good luck going up against the 350-pound Vea in the middle. If you’re going to drop back into coverage, you better double team the bowling ball that moves like a player half his size.
Vita Vea probably won’t be a superstar for the box score watchers of the world, but his ability to dominate at the center of Todd Bowles’ 3-4, or 4-3 when called upon, should help a much larger portion of the NFL world learn what the Bucs have in store for opposing offensive lines.
First-team All-Pro is very much in the cards for Vea if he can stay healthy.