Our New England Patriots Player Profiles series continues with a CFL signing, and this one is going to be shorter than the previous two (LeGarrette Blount and Steve Gregory were pieces that ran a bit longer than expected) due to there being less information on players coming from the CFL who played for small colleges.
The New England Patriots signed two CFL defensive linemen in late January in former USC Trojans and ‘Toronto Argonauts star Armond Armstead, and then Jason Vega shortly afterwards. Armstead was the headlining player and is expected to have a major role as a defensive tackle in the Patriots defense, but Vega is also a player worth watching closely in training camp.
Vega is a native of Brockton, Massachusetts, and he is thus a Masshole (he was rooting pretty hard for the Boston Bruins, I might add). He played college for Northeastern, so he is a small school guy, unlike Armstead. However, Vega’s performance in the CFL for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was nothing “small”, as he recorded 66 tackles and 12 sacks in two seasons, including 40 tackles and five sacks last season for the Blue Bombers.
The 6’4″, 255 pound defensive end was compared to Rob Ninkovich by a CFL executive , who praised Vega’s motor and technique but also stated that Vega is only an average athlete. I’ll take that, because I wouldn’t mind having another Ninkovich. If Vega is like Ninkovich, then the Patriots will be getting a great run defender and somebody who can rush the passer in spurts and finish plays despite not being a consistent source of pressure.
Vega came into the 2010 NFL Draft as a DE/OLB prospect, with his first position actually being OLB. He ran a 4.7 forty, but there isn’t much on him since he only played for Northeastern. Vega looks like a worthy project for the Patriots, and he will at least provide some good competition. I personally hope he can make the practice squad and develop there, and it’s also good to have someone from the area playing on the team.
The 25-year-old signed a three year deal worth just under $1.5 million, and his best bet of sticking around with the New England Patriots is by making the practice squad.
Here’s a terrific interview that Pats Pulpit’s Adam Fox did with Jason Vega.