The Dallas Cowboys don’t select 1-technique tackles early in the draft. I hear you. But Vita Vea is the exception if there ever was one. He’s stout enough to occupy two blockers and still control the gap. And he’s quick enough to explode through the gap and crash the backfield. He’s not your typical plugger 1-tech.
Vea absolutely dominated everyone I’ve seen him face (still watching film on him). Even against top level competition, he seems to be a man amongst boys. It doesn’t even look like he’s going 100 percent out there. If Rod Marinelli can get more out of him he could be one of the most impactful linemen in the NFL.
Under Rod Marinelli’s design, all players on the defensive line serve as “rushmen” at some point so it’s not like his quickness will be wasted in the Cowboys’ scheme. Additionally, the Cowboys have traditionally struggled at 1-tech the past few years. They get bullied in the middle and that puts extra wear and tear on the linebackers. Investing in a dominant 1-tech is protecting Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith – two players who thrive when allowed to run free.
I could see the Cowboys heading into the 2018 season with David Irving at the 3-tech (one of the best in game) and Vita Vea at the 1 tech. Standing 6’5” 332lbs Vita would be quite the inside match to the enormous Irving who stands 6’7” himself. That’s pretty formidable when you have Maliek Collins rotating behind them at both spots.
Vita Vea is a once-in-decade talent and has the potential to impact the game enormously. That’s why he’s the exception to the 1-tech rule. There’s just no one like him in the NFL. If he falls, I’m taking him.
Climate of the 1st round: Many of my top targets were off the board. Roquon Smith was gone, as were Calvin Ridley and the top safeties. There was a run on offensive linemen that was particularly notable. Christian Kirk was available still and as someone who values him, it hurt to pass him up. But Vita Vea is a special player (and I have a few sleeper receivers I’ll be tracking as the draft unfolds).