University of Washington

Vea joins list of Huskies linemen taken in first round

Vita Vea drafted by Tampa Bay Buccaneers

University of Washington standout Vita Vea was drafted 12th by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the NFL draft.
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University of Washington standout Vita Vea was drafted 12th by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the NFL draft.

Welcome to the NFL, Vita Vea.

And welcome to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who surrendered more yards than any other team in the NFL in 2017.

Vea, taken with the No. 12 pick in Thursday's first round of the NFL draft, will be counted on to help improve that.

The Huskies massive defensive lineman, who was the Pac-12 defensive player of the year last year, is the fifth-highest drafted UW defensive lineman. The other four: Steve Emtman (No. 1 overall), Reggie Rogers (No. 7), Ron Holmes (No. 8) and Doug Martin (No. 9).

The Buccaneers had traded down from seventh to 12th – Buffalo grabbed Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen in that deal – and found a 6-foot-4, 345-pound man-mountain adept at stopping the run. At Washington, he often occupied or even overpowered more than one blocker.

He'll team with Tampa’s longtime defensive tackle, Gerald McCoy, in an attempt to improve a defense that surrendered a league-worst 378.1 yards per game. Tampa Bay’s defense was also last at third-down percentage at 48 percent. Opposing quarterbacks had a 94.6 passer efficiency rating against them.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft pick Vita Vea talks about being the guy to lead his new team to its first playoff win in more than a decade.

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