FAB 4. Settle Is A Name For Bucs Fans To Know
For many Buccaneers fans, PewterReport.com first introduced you to Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea, who is a candidate to be drafted by Tampa Bay with the seventh overall pick to help bolster the team’s defensive line. Vea has been featured in Trevor Sikkema’s Cover 3 column and is the top choice for Tampa Bay in PewterReport.com’s most recent Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft.
Now I want to introduce to Vea 2.0 – another option for the Bucs to select early in the draft, perhaps by trading down later in the first round or early in the second round – Virginia Tech defensive tackle Tim Settle.
While Vea is a physical freak at 6-foot-4, 345 pounds, Settle is similarly built at 6-foot-3, 335 pounds. But while Vea played three years for the Huskies, Settle is entering the draft as a redshirt sophomore, having only played two years for the Hokies.
Settle had 17 tackles and a blocked kick as a redshirt freshman reserve before stepping into a starting role as a redshirt sophomore where he became a second-team All-ACC performer and notched 36 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and four sacks. Here are some highlights of Settle from the 2017 season.
Aside from his obvious physical gifts, which are his size, strength, explosiveness and movement ability, what is attractive about Settle is the fact that he’s only 20 years old.
“I just felt that I was ready for that next step,” Settle told DraftWire.com. “I just wanted to dive into it, as in getting to that next level and being taught differently and developing. I know that I still have some errors and stuff like that, but I felt like I was ready and I think that I can help a team out. I see myself playing in the NFL for 10-plus years. I just felt like it’s the perfect time. As a winner, I just felt like it was the perfect time, especially after the season I had.”
Settle isn’t the only one that thinks he can be a 10-year starter in the NFL. Lance Zierlein, who is a draft analyst on NFL.com, is also high on the Virginia Tech standout.
“Settle has rare gifts for a big man with good mass, play strength, quickness, and agility,” Zierlein wrote on NFL.com. “His substantial jump in production in 2017 was due to weight loss and additional conditioning that allowed him to play more snaps and play faster. He’s a disruptive, versatile defensive lineman who offers enough pass rush potential to warrant reps on passing downs. Settle is a natural 4-3 fit but can play in a 3-4 as well. He has the potential to become a very good starter with a Pro Bowl ceiling if he controls his weight and maintains his conditioning.”
Settle does have a pudgy middle section, but so did some of the better defensive tackles in the league, including men of all sizes from Warren Sapp to Vince Wilfork. Settle’s size is closer to Wilfork, but his agility and the springy bounce he plays with is more reminiscent of Sapp. Settle came to Virginia Tech overweight and worked hard to shed 30 pounds. Conditioning concerns seem to be a thing in the past for him.
“A lot of conditioning. I stepped it up, conditioning-wise,” Settle told DraftWire.com when asked about the difference he made as a starter in 2017. “I knew that I was gonna be playing more than 40, more than 50 plays a game. [My coaches told me], “You gotta nail this down and make sure you’re conditioned because you’re going to be playing damn near the whole game,” so that was my main thing. I took younger guys under my wing when it came to conditioning. When you first get to college, when they’re running, you’ve got to find somebody to run with. I felt like, since I’ve been in college for three years, I could finally take somebody under my wing. Conditioning was a big part for me; just conditioning and my work ethic, practicing harder. That was the big thing for me. That just helped my conditioning: just going harder than what I did the year before.”
Should the Bucs take Settle, the Florida heat and humidity will play a role in keeping his weight under control as long as he’s willing to work hard. Tampa Bay will be curious to see what kind of shape Settle is in at the NFL Scouting Combine and at his subsequent pro day.
The key for Settle will be to have him play at 330 or 335 pounds rather than balloon up to 345 or 350 pounds, but the Bucs aren’t afraid of big defensive tackles. In fact, just take a look at the defensive tackles that general manager Jason Licht has recently acquired. Free agent acquisitions Sealver Siliga is 6-foot-2, 345 pounds and Chris Baker is listed 6-foot-2, 320 pounds. The only defensive tackle Licht has drafted in Tampa Bay is USC’s Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, who is listed at 6-foot-1, 320 pounds, but weighed 331 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Settle, like Vea, is expected to shine in Indianapolis next week, and he could rise into the first round if he moves as well as expected at the NFL Scouting Combine. One mock draft on Bleacher Report has Settle going to Philadelphia with the final pick in the first round.
“Decision-makers Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas like to mix Moneyball with old-school Bill Parcells reasoning: 330-pound defensive tackles who can move are rare commodities, so draft them whenever you can,” writes Mike Tanier. “Settle is a 330-pounder who can move.”
Another recent mock draft has Settle going as high as No. 26 to Atlanta.
“A big rise could be coming for Settle over the next few months,” writes Chris Trapasso. “At 335 pounds, he moves like he’s about 30 pounds lighter and has an impressive first step. He’d be another fun inside pass-rusher in Atlanta.”
There just aren’t many highly regarded defensive tackles that are as big as Vea and Settle in this draft that appeal to the Bucs. The next closest North Carolina State’s B.J. Hill is 6-foot-3, 321 pounds, while USF’s Deadrin Senat is 6-foot, 322 pounds. Both are considered to be third-round picks and neither move as well as Vea or Settle.
Virginia Tech DT Tim Settle showing excellent balance and flexibility. pic.twitter.com/ADgAAamkcw
— Scott Bischoff (@Bischoff_Scott) February 15, 2018
I know that a lot of Bucs fans are fixated on the defensive end position, and believe me when I say that Tampa Bay’s scouting department is, too. But defensive tackle is just as pressing of a need right now with the release of Baker, with Clinton McDonald and Siliga slated for free agency and the fact that Gerald McCoy turns 30 on Sunday and that Stevie Tu’ikolovatu has yet to play a down in the NFL. That’s why there is interest in both Vea and Settle.