When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers recruited Gerald McCoy third in the 2010 NFL draft, it became clear that he would be the focal point of the defense.
You could argue the same point when the Bucs took Vita Vea 12º in the 2018 draft.
McCoy is no longer on the list, but Vea remains. Regardless of the reason (s) for which, now it is the job of Vea to handle the defensive line.
It could be said that Vea is the most important key to defending the Bucs in 2019. Their development will help determine how effective the unit can be and without McCoy, things would not be easy.
But the Bucs were able to attract Ndamukong Suh, who should slip in and take McCoy's place, because he actually fits in better with this defense.
More importantly, Suh's presence should help Vea immensely. It may even help to accelerate Vea's learning curve.
The Los Angeles Rams used Suh on the defensive line last season, what the Bucs should, and probably will, too. Not only will they form one of the strongest defensive insides in the league, but they can also face each other.
Let's hope that Suh's versatility allows Vea to reach the quarterback often in 2019, something he showed he could do in 2018.
Vea's main responsibility in defending Mike Smith was to eat blocks. Look at the game below and you'll see what I mean.
As you can see, there were times when this worked, but you do not take a 12th nose tackle in general to be a complementary piece or to eat space. Arians knows this and that is exactly why he brought Suh, to make Vea the player he should be.
It's no secret that Vea is an absolute beast on the soccer field. He has an excellent combination of quickness and strength for a man of his size (he measures 6 feet 4 feet and 347 pounds) and really improved his game towards the end of the 2018 season.
Obviously, the first thought that comes to mind is to cover the gaps and take up space so that your teammates can fly and make plays, but there is something more than size for the See game.
This is a perfect example of how agile the great man is. He is able to stop for ten cents and chase Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, who is quite mobile, for the sack.
Here is a better look in slow motion. Basically, Vea starts at the skull chin of the Bucs logo in midfield. Morgan Moses, the right tackle of the Redskins (# 76) is who is in Vea.
See how he is able to stop, accelerate and chase Smith suddenly. The hashmarks are 18 feet 6 inches wide in the NFL. See is in the left hash and Smith is on the right when Vea begins the pursuit.
That is quite impressive. Sure, Vea did not have as much ground to cover as Smith. See he had to run approximately six yards while Smith had to run 10 yards, but the ability to stop and move laterally that way is not common for defensive linemen in the interior.
With this kind of agility, See certainly can be more than a race racer, can also be a pass rider. It will be fun to see how Todd Bowles uses them both in his defense.
In this sack, it shows its strength as the bull rushes Joe Staley while JPP executes the trick. But if you pay close attention, there's another factor at play that helps Vea take down the quarterback, out of the wide lineup and his ability to handle 3-tech.
McCoy acquires a double team that allows Vea and JPP to get the 1-on-1 matchup that all pass brokers dream of.
Now take a look at the work below and see if you can find any similarity:
Suh draws the double team, which allows Donald the 1v1. We've seen Vea draw double teams before, but seeing Suh doing so means that other players, including Vea, will be able to put pressure on other areas.
This one here is beautiful because the Vikings center, Pat Elfein, literally has to choose his poison between Donald and Suh, which I'm sure is what the Bucs hope to achieve with Vea.
As Vea becomes more pin-like, Bucs will be able to use these broad alignments more frequently.
Inner pressure is the key to some of the most successful defenses in the NFL today and the Bucs now have the potential to create chaos inside.
And this is out of topic BUT – Just for fun, here is another example of how Todd Bowles can use Suh in this defense. The Bowles defense has many of the same traits as the Wade Phillips Rams.
Suh lines up wide on the left side of the defensive line and uses some quick hands to beat right, Rashod Hill at the top of the arc to get the sack.
And here's a final video, another example of how Suh's versatility can help Vea. In this case, it is aligned in 1-tech, which allows Donald to manage 3-tech. If you remember the previous video, Vea showed that he can knock down opposing quarterbacks from that same place, so again, why can not Bucs do it?
Now, I realize that Vea is not Donald, nobody is.
But this example shows how Bowles can have flexibility and versatility within his list.
Suh is better for this defense than McCoy, and Vea should get some important dividends throughout the season.
How many bags do you think Vita Vea ends in 2019?
178 votes in total