(UPDATE VIA TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS COMMUNICATIONS) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that the team has signed defensive tackle Vita Vea, Tampa Bay’s first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Vea (6-4, 347) was chosen 12th overall, out of Washington, where he played in 40 career games, totaling 100 tackles (15 for loss), 9.5 sacks, six passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two blocked kicks. In 2017, Vea won the Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year Award, as well as the Morris Trophy, given annually to the top defensive lineman in the Pac-12, as voted on by the conference’s offensive linemen. He was also a second-team All-American selection by USA Today, Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and TheAthletic.com. The Milpitas, California native was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection by both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press in addition to finishing as a Bednarik Award semifinalist.
During his redshirt junior year (2017), Vea started all 13 games, recording 44 tackles (5.5 for loss), four passes defensed, 2.5 sacks and a blocked punt. He helped anchor Washington’s run defense, which ranked fourth in the NCAA in rushing yards allowed per game (100.9), while allowing only 2.86 yards per carry, the second-lowest mark in the NCAA, trailing only Alabama. Vea was part of a Washington defense that allowed only 16.1 points per game, the fifth-best mark in the country, and surrendered 298.0 yards per game, the eighth-fewest in the NCAA.
According to Tampa Bay Times Buccaneers insider Rick Stroud, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have agreed to a four-year rookie contract with first round selection Vita Vea.
The former University of Washington standout will be one of a couple of new pieces of a revamped defensive line anchored by six-time Pro Bowl tackle Gerald McCoy, bolstered by the trade for pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul and the signing of Beau Allen, Vinny Curry and Mitch Unrein in free agency. The Bucs ranked last in the NFL with 23 sacks a year ago.
In three seasons at Washington, he compiled 99 tackles and 9½ sacks, earning the Pac-12's defensive player of the year award in 2017.
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