Welcome back to The B&G Report! Many Redskins fans believe that Defensive Line is the Redskins biggest area of need. My reason for agreeing, might differ from other others though. If the Redskins can solidify their D-line with another young stud to go along with John Allen, Matt Ioannidis and Anthony Lanier, this defense could rise to Top 5 in most Defensive categories. Now hear me out, having a dominate line will help players like Preston Smith, Ryan Kerrigan and most importantly recently resigned ILB Zach Brown. I’ve heard arguments that they can wait until Round 2 or later to grab a DT, but that would be a mistake considering the talent they’d leave on the board.
The two most polarizing defensive prospects in the upcoming Draft, as well as a major area of need are Vita Vea and Da’ron Payne. I’ve heard a few analysts say that Vea is light years ahead of Payne talent wise, I’ll have to respectfully disagree. I spend more time listening to area scouts and watching film, compared to the recycled prospect breakdowns and these two are special players!
Many readers will testify that I haven’t stopped talking about Vita Vea since early 2017. He is a mountain of a man at 6’4 347 pounds, who ran the NFL Combine Forty Yard Dash in 5.1 seconds. Vea shocked Combine onlookers, registering an eye popping 41 reps in the Bench Press! He participated in the NFL combine drills, even though he was dealing with a pulled hamstring, which also kept him out of the Washington Husky Pro Day. It’s amazing to think if healthy, how fast Vea really is!
The Redskins should have a tough decision if both Vea and Payne are available at the Redskins 13th overall pick, but who’s the better fit in GregManysky’s Defense? The B&G Report will compare their ability to stop the run, rush the passer and the intangibles that set the two apart. This should shed some light on who could be the better NFL prospect, but more importantly how they could help the Redskins Defense return to greatness if Drafted!
Stopping The Run
Vea– The Samoan Giant’s tape shows a Defensive Tackle that is relentless at stopping ball carriers and is much more than a hole clogger Nose Tackle. The Haloti Ngata comparisons are legitimate. After watching his 2017 game film, Vea showed improvement against the run every game. It came as no surprise, that teams routinely dedicated two players to block Vea. I love how he was able to consistently shed the first block on double teams. Even more impressive, is how Vea recovers after shedding blocks and still has the ability to establish good leverage to attack ball carriers. His bull rush move is second to none and extremely hard to stop. On many occasions he would stop the ball carrier, with the opposing lineman still grasping at his jersey. It’s no secret that Vea is a beast against the run, but how does Payne stack up?
Payne– When watching film on Payne, it became hard to distinguish his ability to stop the run and just how much his teammates helped. What I love about Vea, I also love about Payne I regards to hand strength. I was hard pressed to find tape with Payne missing a tackle or losing sight of a ball carrier, once he had a hand full of jersey. The thing with Alabama is they are a gang tackling squad by nature. I’m on the fence of how good Payne could be, on the next level. Per his bio, Payne was 325-330 lbs most of his carrier and slimmed down to the low three hundreds during his Senior year. Reports are he wanted to gear up for an increase in snap counts, due to the departure of his former teammate John Allen. He will and should add at least twenty pounds, in order to compete in the NFL Trenches. In no way am I concerned about Payne against the run on the next level, but I feel Vea is far superior at pushing O-lineman into ball carriers. The advantage Payne would have over Vea though, is his chemistry with current Redskins Defensive Tackle John Allen.
Rushing The Passer
Vea– Although I really like Vea’s Bull Rush, it’s really his only go to move at the moment. Many evaluators are concerned about his arm length of 32 5/8 inches, which isn’t bad at all. The issue is his body type, in proportion to his arm length. As I’ve mentioned, once he gets his hands on players it’s usually over. The issue with that is when he doesn’t get a hand full of jersey, his wide frame impedes him from making sound tackles at times. In saying that, I witnessed Vea on a few occasions send offensive lineman airborne into the opposing quarterback. Most defensive tackles coming out of college need work on their pass rushing repertoire. In the meantime, his raw power/strength is what will separate him from the other prospects in my opinion. His ability to turn his momentum laterally, while rushing the passer is extremely underrated in my opinion. Vea received sub par position coaching at Washington University, which isn’t his fault. Vea displays the willingness to be coached up per teammates and coach’s testimonies. Effort could be an issue for Vea though, especially when facing NFL caliber Lineman and the chop blocks he’ll surely endure. I did see a few games when he lagged on a few plays after receiving chips and chop blocks. That isn’t a knock on his toughness, but he will face that every week in the NFL compared to his time playing in the PAC-12. Payne could be more NFL ready based on the level of competition he faced in college, but Vea could be a monster pass rusher in time with the right coaching. What I want to see from Vea on the next level is more effort to swat passes down at the line of scrimmage, Payne has a big advantage over Vea in that department.
Payne– I think the Crimson Tide D-lineman’s pass rush ability is extremely underrated. I watched more film on Payne than usual this week, I was a bit surprised about the rumors of him dropping on teams Draft boards. Reports are teams believe he was helped by the glutney of talent around him and could be “just a guy” in the NFL. I couldn’t disagree more with that evaluation. Payne excels at pressuring the passer, which lead to multiple tipped balls at the line of scrimmage. As previously mentioned, this is a big deficiency for Vea and a big plus for Payne during the prospect evaluation process. Payne shows an attacking style, but more under control compared to Vea. Payne had the benefit of knowing that if he held onto a player, his fellow defenders would quickly be there to assist in gang tackling the ball carrier. You would think the stellar play of Alabama’s defense would push Payne up teams Draft Boards, but it seems to be a drawback per reports. Lots of smoke screens are leaked out this time a year by teams, so I always take these types of reports with a grain of salt.
Vea– The former Washington U Defensive Tackle is a Three Down Lineman who’s played every spot on the D-line, as well as playing on the Special Teams Coverage Unit. His hand strength and relentless pursuit off ball carriers is off the charts! As previously mentioned, Vea routinely beats double teams which will help him tremendously on the next level. Although facing double teams in the NFL against the best athletes in the word will be a big adjustment for the mammoth Samoan, Vea has the know how and athleticism to get it done!
Payne– The Alabama lineman has lined up at fullback & caught a TD, intercepted a pass & returned it for TD and registered a sack/ force fumble recovery for a TD (was reversed due his kneedown at the goal line). Payne’s football IQ will help him transition to the pros seamlessly in my opinion. The fact that he would have former teammate and friend John Allen by his side if Washington selected him, could arguably be a top reason to draft him. Gaining chemistry takes time and he would have Allen, as well as former teammate Ryan Anderson helping him along. I love how Payne hypes up his teammates and fans during games, which is a big leadership quality. His fire is what might separate him from Vea in the end.
“We need Neanderthals” –Rick Doc Walker
That’s exactly what these two lineman are! The Skins made an unprecedented move in last years Draft, by selecting a Defensive Lineman in Alabama’s John Allen with their first round pick. Prior to that it was Kenard Lang in the 1997 Draft, that’s 20 years! Now they need to continue building their D-Line through the Draft. I’ve heard all the arguments for they can a DT later in the Draft and I agree, but these two are the cream of the crop at their position. In the end, both players would fit perfect in Washington. Truth is Payne could probably transition quicker to the NFL and produce on a high level, but Vea’s potential can’t be underestimated. I’ve heard the Redskins would take Payne over Vea, but that would be a mistake if both are available. Vea has the potential to be an All Pro, compared to Payne who’s ceiling might be a Pro Bowl nod here and there. Payne can excel with an established pocket pusher by his side, but Vea is one of the Draft’s best game changers! I witnessed take over games, which is rare for a player at his position. One would think if the Husky D-Line had another Blue Chipper playing next to Vea, he would have have been a Top 5 pick. Now what I want to happen and what will probably happen, will probably differ. I just don’t see the Skins going Defensive Tackle two years in a row, unless they trade back to gain more value and select a lineman in the 20 range of Round 1. A team like the Raiders (pick 10th overall) will value Vea’s potential next to their All Pro DE/OLB Khalil Mack, thus taking him off the board when the Redskins #13th pick rolls around. In this scenario, I’d be all in for a trade back, if a Blue Chip prospect of need isn’t available. In the end I’d select Washington University Defensive Tackle Via Vea with the 13th overall pick. Greg Manusky will mold him into the games next feared D-lineman!
Stay Tuned for the next B&G Report featuring “The 5 Running backs Skins Fans Should Know”.