Vita Vea was arguably the draft’s top defensive tackle prospect before we learned that Maurice Hurst has a heart condition that could impact both his ability to play football and his draft stock, though we’ll hope not in both instances.
The Falcons, predictably, appear to have a level of interest in Vea. They met with him Saturday, and Vea characterized it as a “nice little meeting.”
Washington DT Vita Vea had a “nice” interview with the #Falcons. “We had a great little meeting,” Vea said. pic.twitter.com/m5m0LRzfue— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) March 3, 2018
The reason I’m not jumping up and down with excitement at the moment has everything to do with draft stock. Vea is likely to be long gone by the time the Falcons pick, and a trade up might have to carry them into the mid-teens if they want to wind up with the Washington product.
If he did somehow fall, Vea would be a very interesting defender for Dan Quinn and company. He’s nearly 350 pounds, but he’s light on his feet for that weight and extremely talented. One could easily see him working next to Grady Jarrett to great effect, but again, keep your expectations measured. Chances are he’ll wind up going to the Bengals, Chargers, or Cowboys in the teens, and whoever lands him is going to get a great player.
If the Falcons do want a defensive tackle, they’ll be looking at Hurst, Da’Ron Payne, Tim Settle, and Taven Bryan in the first round. I still suspect that will be their first round pick.