Destiny Vaeao, DL
School: Washington State | Conference: PAC-12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22? 23?
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 298 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Late Rounds or UDFA
NFL Comparison: Randy Starks
Destiny Vaeao may be an intriguing late round defensive option for most teams in this years draft. Vaeao is originally from American Samoa where he grew up playing football. Vaeao flashes obvious talent and boasts an NFL ready body and great work ethic. He was used all over the defensive line at Washington State and was particularly good at remaining stout, plugging run lanes, and using his initial burst to get into the backfield. I have read from a couple sources that there is a buzz amongst scouts about Vaeao. Some think that he has a lot of upside, perhaps more than a typical late round prospect would as the coaches didn't always scheme to Vaeao's strengths. Vaeao may have gotten on more radars with his performance at the Collegiate Bowl and at his Pro Day. We will see soon enough if these scouts hold firm on their beliefs and pound their War Room tables for Vaeao. I wouldn't be surprised if he's a guy that goes higher than most expect.
- Strong player that's naturally gifted at crashing the gaps and sealing lanes in the run game.
- Great motor and displays active hands and good footwork to rush the passer.
- Flashes quickness and twitch moves to get into the backfield.
- Versatile player that could play DT in the 4-3 scheme or DE in a 3-4.
- Doesn't have any elite level traits like overwhelming strength, speed, quickness etc.
- Only has one year of draftable production.
- Needs to work on his technique, how he takes on double teams and his angles need work.
Let's see his work:
Is Dan Quinn in Pullman? Falcons scout working out Dom Williams and Destiny Vaeao. I'm like 80% percent certain it's @FalconsDQ— Aaron Polevoi (@aaronpolevoi) March 29, 2016
End zone view of Destiny Vaeao with the strip. pic.twitter.com/kxenp4lEoF— Brandon Smart (@BrandonSmart684) January 24, 2016
The guy that surprised me most was Washington State DT Destiny Vaeao. Likely a rotational 3-4 guy but I liked what I saw from him.— Ethan Young (@NFLDrafter) December 29, 2015
As highlighted by @CarterCBS, top WSU prospect on D is DT Destiny Vaeao (No. 97), whose size (6-4, 295), physicality project well to NFL.— Rob Rang (@RobRang) December 26, 2015
Washington St DL Destiny Vaeao (97) overpowering Stanford LG Joshua Garnett (51), the PAC-12's reigning Mor... https://t.co/BTc8ohua6s— Rob Rang (@RobRang) December 22, 2015
Destiny Vaeao and Darryl Paulo earn Second Team All-Pac-12 honors. https://t.co/bzPAuSAQZQ— Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpeSR) December 1, 2015
Good Lord, Destiny Vaeao pic.twitter.com/UF0EssU1P3— Michael Preston (@RM_Preston) November 17, 2015
CBS Sports draft analyst Rob Rang indicated that "there’s a belief out [in the scouting community] that [Washington State senior DT Destiny Vaeao] has a lot of untapped potential." Noted Rang, "[Vaeao]’s learning to use his hands better, he locates the football well and plays hard." The draft analyst also called the 6-foot-3, 300-plus-pound prospect a "naturally powerful" lineman who would fit in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. In 2015, he logged 40 tackles (12 for loss) with 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Rang told the Seattle Times he sees Vaeao as a potential fourth or fifth-round selection in this spring's draft.
Defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao said he felt good about his entire Pro Day work out, but his most eye popping stat came off the vertical jump, where his 35.5-inch leap would have been the best among all defensive tackles if he’d been invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. And that’s saying something because this class of defensive linemen is widely considered to be the deepest in many years.
As it stands, Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche’s 35.0-inch vertical jump was the best mark recorded at the combine in February.
At Pro Day, Vaeao was measured as 6-foot-3 inches, and weighed 298 pounds. He managed a 9-foot broad jump, a 5.19 40 yard dash, and 27 reps on the 225-pound bench press. Vaeao said Friday that the Colts, Jaguars and 49ers showed interest in him at Pro Day, and he had a phone interview with the New York Jets on Friday morning.
How He Would Fit on the Redskins
Destiny Vaeao presents good value in the later rounds. He's a versatile lineman with decent athleticism who, if the scouts are right, has a good amount of untapped potential. The team that drafts him will have to present him with the opportunity to make an impact and foster a good environment for development. As far as the Redskins go I could see Vaeao fitting in as a rotational piece and at minimum he should compete for a roster spot or playing time with guys like Ziggy Hood, James Gayle, and other DL players with low contracts. I fully expect the Redskins to select a defensive lineman high in this draft but it wouldn't hurt to bring in a guy in the later rounds to compete with the veterans we already have on the team.