Vita Vea was one of the top defensive players selected in the first round of the NFL draft, going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the No. 12 pick.
Vea will also in all likelihood be the first player from Washington selected in the draft.
With that, let’s check out five things you need to know about Vea.
1. Vita Vea will be the second Husky to be drafted in the first round in as many years
Vita Vea is essentially assured to hear his name called on Thursday, giving Washington its second straight year with at least one first-round pick in the NFL draft.
“We’re here to recruit and develop NFL players if we can get that done,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said last week, per the Seattle Times. “That’s really, really important to us. But that’s not the only thing and that’s probably not even the first thing. But for us to be back there [at the draft], to celebrate that, that kid has worked so hard and been blessed with these tools to put to football use. I think it’s awesome. It’s awesome for the kids.”
2. Mike Mayock projects Vita Vea to go No. 13 overall
On the eve of the draft, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock projected Vita Vea to be selected 13th overall to the Washington Redskins.
He’s a freak. The key to his value is how much he’ll actually play in sub package.
3. Vita Vea is the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year
In his third season with the Huskies, Vita Vea tallied 43 tackles, including 5.5 for a loss, and 3.5 sacks despite lining up in the interior.
Over his career, Vea amassed 15 tackles for a loss and 9.5 sacks over 37 games.
4. Vita Vea may have devoured a 40-plus ounce steak in one sitting
SFGate.com chronicled Vita Vea’s official visit to Washington as a recruit, which included one anecdote highlighting Vea’s strong appetite.
According to Jeff Choate, who was then the defensive line coach at Washington and is now the coach at Montana State, Vea ate a massive porterhouse atop the Space Needle.
“[It was] the biggest steak I’ve ever seen in my life,” Choate said.“I’m saying it was a 42-ounce porterhouse, or something like that. Whatever it was, it was massive. It was the size of my head. And I think he wanted another one when he was done.”
5. Peter King called Vita Vea the “New Suh”
In Peter King’s mock draft released on Monday, he has Vita Vea being selected No. 11 overall to the Miami Dolphins.
It’s the comparison to Ndamukong Suh that King made, though, that stood out.
The New Suh. This pick is notable more for what the Dolphins aren’t doing. Like everyone else, I was pretty sure Miami would be among the cadre of teams looking to trade up for a quarterback. The splash move has been an MO of club architect Mike Tannenbaum over his career. And maybe it happens. But more recently I’ve started to think, through what I’ve heard in the pre-draft process, that Miami is more likely to stick with Ryan Tannehill (who has missed the last 19 games with injury) and continue the progress he was making with Adam Gase in the 2016 season. We’ll see. One word of caution with Vea: He’s got to manage his weight if he wants to be more than a two-down player.