- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 21, 2018

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. released his 2018 Mock Draft 2.0 Wednesday morning, in which he projects the Washington Redskins will select University of Washington nose tackle Vita Vea with the 13th overall pick.

Vea was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. In his three-year college career, he totaled 99 tackles, including 15 tackles for losses and 9.5 sacks. He also deflected four passes his senior year.

Kiper said he believes nose tackle is the Redskins’ position of greatest need.



“Washington ranked last in the league in 2017 in run defense, allowing 134.1 yards per game,” he wrote. “The 6-4, 346-pound Vea is a freakish talent who is more than a run-stopper. He has rare quickness for a player of his size and can play all three downs.”

ANALYSIS:

Run defense is undoubtedly an area of need for Washington. The team’s defensive line was not imposing in 2017, and Vea would be an upgrade over Evander “Ziggy” Hood, who started 27 games at nose tackle over the past two years and who just turned 31.

However, Kiper’s mock draft also has the Redskins passing over Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who is considered the best in the class at that position. The team needs to consider selecting a wide receiver early to add to the crew it has returning.

• Adam Zielonka can be reached at azielonka@washingtontimes.com.

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