Defensive tackle Vita Vea had a solid week at the NFL Combine, boosting his draft stock and generating questions like, “could the Bengals select first round players out of Washington in back-to-back years?”
The team selected wide receiver John Ross from the Huskies in 2017 and Vea is in the conversation for the No. 12 overall pick in 2018, the Bengals’ selection.
Vea had a great start to the week in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine, though it ended on a bitter note as he hurt his hamstring while running the 40-yard dash. His former teammate, Ross, had the same happen to him last year at the combine. The Huskies’ pro day is just next week (March 10) and as of now, Vea isn’t sure if he’ll be healthy as he won’t have long to recover to do the drills he missed out on in Indianapolis back in Seattle. But, assuming the injury was just a minor tweak, Vea’s combine was a positive one.
“It’s every little kid’s dream to be here, growing up to be an NFL star,” Vea said when speaking with the media. “Finally making it here it’s kind of surreal to me. I’m just enjoying it, taking it all in and just living in the moment.”
Vea said he’s versatile enough to play both 1-technique and 3-technique and that while at Washington, he did it all. He also let it be known that he’s open to changing the square stance he played with in college. At the NFL level, he expects to be in more of a pass-rushing stance.
“Some of the interviews, we talked about that stance and why I do it and you know things I could do to change and other stances I’ve used in the past,” Vea explained. “It’s definitely going to be something to work on in the future.”
Something that Vea already has down is his power, as evidenced by his 41 reps on the bench press.
“I feel really happy about my power and how far it’s taken me,” Vea said. “It’s carried me well throughout my career in Washington and I’m excited to see how it continues.”
Vea said that while he seems laid back off-the-field, he adjusts to his surroundings to dial it up on the field. During the Combine, he was working to show off his personality to decision-makers in Indianapolis.
“I want them to see my personality and who I really am on and off the field and what I can bring to the locker room,” Vea said, “not only what I can bring on the field but off the field, the traits I can bring.
I don’t know what NFL evaluators thought, but Vea surely had the media laughing, especially when he quipped off this in regards to his 40-yard dash.
“You can tell John Ross and Adidas I’m coming for the island.”
Vea ended up recording a 40-yard dash time of 5.1 seconds, which wasn’t quite the 4.22 Ross recorded, but was quite impressive for a 6’4”, 347 pound defensive tackle.