Vita Vea
refer to caption
Vea with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021
No. 50 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Position:Nose tackle
Personal information
Born: (1995-02-05) February 5, 1995 (age 27)
Stanford, California
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:347 lb (157 kg)
Career information
High school:Milpitas (Milpitas, California)
College:Washington (2014–2017)
NFL Draft:2018 / Round: 1 / Pick: 12
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2021
Total tackles:106
Sacks:11.5
Pass deflections:6
Fumble recoveries:1
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Tevita Tuliʻakiʻono Tuipulotu Mosese Vaʻhae Fehoko Faletau Vea[2] (born February 5, 1995), otherwise known as Vita Vea, is an American football nose tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Washington and was drafted by the Buccaneers in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

College career

As a junior in 2017, Vea was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and won the Morris Trophy.[3][4] On January 2, 2018, he declared his intention to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.[5]

College Statistics
Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP Comb Solo Ast TFL Sack PD Int Yds Avg TD FF FR Yds TD
2015 Washington 11 17 13 4 3.0 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
2016 Washington 14 39 22 17 6.5 5.0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
2017 Washington 12 43 30 13 5.5 3.5 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 37 99 65 34 15.0 9.5 5 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0

Professional career

Vea participated in the 2018 NFL Combine, but did not complete all drills due to a hamstring injury.[6]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split Bench press
6 ft 4 in
(1.93 m)
347 lb
(157 kg)
32+58 in
(0.83 m)
10 in
(0.25 m)
5.10 s 1.76 s 2.95 s 41 reps
All values from NFL Combine[7]

Vea was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round with the 12th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.[8]

2018 season

Vea strained his calf during training camp, causing him to miss the entire preseason as well as the first three games of the regular season. Vea recorded his first career sack in Week 10, during a 16–3 loss to the Washington Redskins.[9]

He finished his rookie year with 28 tackles and three sacks.[10]

2019 season

Vea in a game against the Tennessee Titans
Vea in a game against the Tennessee Titans

In Week 12, during a 35–22 win against the Atlanta Falcons, Vea recorded a sack, a career-best two pass deflections, and caught a one-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jameis Winston. As a result, Vea became the first defensive player since J. J. Watt in 2014 to record a sack and catch a touchdown in the same game, the ninth player in NFL history to accomplish both in the same game, and the heaviest player in NFL history to catch a touchdown at 347 pounds.[11] Overall, he started all 16 games and recorded 35 total tackles, 12 quarterback hits, and three passes defensed.[12]

2020 season

During Thursday Night Football against the Chicago Bears in Week 5, Vea suffered fractures to his right leg and ankle after making a tackle on running back David Montgomery. Prior to the injury, Vea recorded one sack on Nick Foles during the 20–19 loss. Vea was placed on injured reserve on October 13, 2020.[13][14] Vea was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the team on November 28, 2020,[15] and moved back to injured reserve on December 5.[16] Vea was activated from injured reserve on January 22, 2021.[17] In Super Bowl LV, Vea recorded one tackle during the Buccaneers' win over the Kansas City Chiefs.[18][19]

2021 season

Vea being carted off the field in 2021.
Vea being carted off the field in 2021.

On April 26, 2021, the Buccaneers picked up Vea's fifth-year option, guaranteeing Vea $7.6 million for the 2022 season.[20] In the Week 11 loss to the Washington Football Team, Vea suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter and was carted off the field.[21]

On January 8, 2022, Vea signed a four-year, $73 million extension with the Buccaneers.[22] As a result of the Los Angeles Rams advancing to Super Bowl LVI, Vea was selected to his first career Pro Bowl as an alternate for defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

NFL career statistics

Legend
Won the Super Bowl
Bold Career high
Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles Receiving
GP GS Comb Solo Ast Sack Sfty PD Int Yds Avg Lng TD FF FR Yds TD Rec Yds Avg Long TD
2018 TB 13 8 28 21 7 3.0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019 TB 16 16 35 19 16 2.5 0 3 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1.0 1 1
2020 TB 5 5 10 6 4 2.0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2021 TB 16 16 33 22 11 4.0 0 3 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career 50 45 106 68 38 11.5 0 6 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1.0 1 1

Personal life

Vea is the son of Sione and Fipe Vea, from Tonga.[23]

References

  1. ^ "Pac-12 Football Awards and All-Conference Team Announced". Pac-12.
  2. ^ Jude, Adam (April 24, 2018). "Vita Vea is poised to become Huskies' second consecutive first-round NFL draft pick". Seattle Times. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  3. ^ Jude, Adam (December 5, 2017). "UW's Vita Vea named Morris Trophy winner as Pac-12's top defensive lineman". Seattle Times. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  4. ^ Jude, Adam (December 5, 2017). "UW's Vita Vea named Pac-12's defensive player of the year". Seattle Times. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  5. ^ "Washington star DL Vita Vea declares for NFL draft". Q13 FOX. Associated Press. January 2, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  6. ^ Goodbread, Chase (March 4, 2018). "Vita Vea ends NFL Combine workout with hamstring injury". National Football League. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  7. ^ "NFL Draft & Combine Profile – Vita Vea". National Football League.
  8. ^ Smith, Scott (April 26, 2018). "Revitalized Line: Bucs Nab Vita Vea at #12". Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Archived from the original on April 27, 2018.
  9. ^ "Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – November 11th, 2018". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  10. ^ "Vita Vea 2018 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  11. ^ "Big guy, big catch: Vea TD leads Bucs past Falcons 35–22". ESPN. Associated Press. November 24, 2019. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  12. ^ "Vita Vea 2019 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  13. ^ "Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears – October 8th, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  14. ^ Smith, Scott (October 13, 2020). "Vita Vea, Jack Cichy to I.R. Among Multiple Bucs Moves". Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  15. ^ Smith, Scott (November 28, 2020). "Jack Cichy Activated from Injured Reserve". Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  16. ^ "Buccaneers' Vita Vea: Clears COVID-19 protocol". CBS Sports. December 5, 2020. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  17. ^ Smith, Scott (January 22, 2021). "Vita Vea Will Return for NFC Championship Game". Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  18. ^ Patra, Kevin (February 7, 2017). "What we learned from Buccaneers win over Chiefs in Super Bowl LV". National Football League. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  19. ^ "Super Bowl LV – Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs – February 7th, 2021". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  20. ^ Sullivan, Tyler (April 26, 2021). "Buccaneers pick up fifth-year option on Vita Vea, who's now under contract through 2022". CBS Sports. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  21. ^ Easterling, Luke (November 14, 2021). "Bucs DL Vita Vea carted off with knee injury vs. Washington". USA Today. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  22. ^ Shook, Nick (January 8, 2022). "Buccaneers, NT Vita Vea agree to four-year extension worth over $73 million". National Football League. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  23. ^ "Buccaneers draft Vita Vea". Matangi Tonga. April 30, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.