The Buccaneer’s defensive line will have a new look in 2022 as 34-year-old Ndamukong Suh was not resigned. In the first round, the Bucs drafted 22-year-old defensive tackle Logan Hall from Houston to replace Suh in the middle of the Bucs’ defensive line.
The Buccaneers also signed veteran defensive tackle Akeim Hicks who played through an injury-plagued 2021 season with the Chicago Bears.
The 32-year-old Hicks came to the Bucs after playing in just eight games last season. Hicks had 19 tackles with 3.5 sacks with the Chicago Bears.
Hicks is a 335-pound lineman who will create mismatches for the opposing offense as he will draw many double teams.
Hicks is a very good two-play. He can clog the running lanes and also put pressure on the quarterback. The big question will be his ability to stay healthy. Hicks has proven that when he is healthy, his production is outstanding, and he is a top ten lineman in this league.
The Bucs DL line, on paper, is one of the most formidable defensive lines in football, and it all starts in the middle of the defensive line with nose tackle Vita Vea.
Vea is coming off one of his best seasons in the NFL with 33 tackles, five of those tackles for losses.
Vea also registered four sacks and had a fumble recovery.
Although Vea’s stats may not have been as gaudy as some of the other interior linemen around the league, his power in the middle of the defensive line consistently draws a double team. As a result of the double team, it will free up the edge rushers and other defensive players coming on the blitz to get to the quarterback.
Vea is coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance, and Bucs fans can look forward to seeing him in Tampa for the next four years after signing his new contract.
Vea consistently drew a double team last season, which helped free up edge rusher Shaquill Barrett and helped him to get his ten sacks last season.
The rookie from Houston, Logan Hall, will be looking to compete immediately for a starting job. Hall finished his final season in Houston with six sacks and 13 tackles for a loss and earned first-team all-AAC honors.
With Akeim Hicks, Vita Vea, and now Logan Hall as anchors on the defensive line, the Bucs have made getting to the quarterback a priority, and that should not be a problem with all the talent they have accumulated along the DL.
Hall should get the starting job at the right defensive end spot opposite William Gholston. Vita Vea will start at nose tackle.
Rakeem Nunez Roaches will be the backup nose tackle, with Patrick OConnor and Deadrin Senat as the other reserves along the defensive line.
If the Bucs hoist the Super Bowl Trophy in February, the defensive line will have to play a significant role in how successful the defense will be this season.
They have the players needed to make that a reality. Now it’s just a matter of staying healthy and executing on the field.