Raiders’ draft preview: Will Vita Vea drop anchor in middle of D-line?

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Second in a series of profiles on 10 players who could be a target of the Raiders in the NFL draft with the 10th overall pick. No. 2 is massive Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea.

College: Washington

Position: Defensive tackle

Ht/Wt: 6-foot-4, 347 pounds

Why he fits the Raiders: The Raiders looked hard at Haloti Ngata Oregon in the 2006 NFL draft, but bottom line felt he took too many plays off. So when the Raiders’ pick came at No. 7, they took Texas safety Michael Huff. Ngata, the player to whom Vea is often compared, went on to have a more accomplished career than any of the 11 players taken before him before Baltimore struck at No. 12. The Raiders don’t want to make the same mistake again.

Why he doesn’t: The Raiders anted up for a contract extension to keep Justin “Jelly” Ellis around, and even in a rotational set-up, it doesn’t make sense to have two players whose job it is to engulf blockers for those around him to make plays. Reggie McKenzie loves big and powerful, but Jon Gruden is looking for speed and explosion.

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Scouting report: Vea’s size and power are undeniable, and he’s versatile enough to actually have played as an end on pass rushing downs. Has shown ability to annihilate single-team block attempts from guards and centers. Ends up on the ground more than you’d think for someone his size. Film has been hard to figure for some scouts who wonder if Vea is giving his all on some snaps. May be too heavy in the lower body to get adequate push as an NFL pass rusher.

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Quotable: “I watch the best. You study film. but two players I can really say I watched the most film on growing up was Reggie White and Justin Smith from the 49ers,” Vea when asked by reporters about his influences on the D-line at the NFL scouting combine.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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