Insider Scouting Report: David Veikune

Cleveland Browns head coach Eric Mangini revealed that he plans on moving second-round pick David Veikune to inside linebacker. Can he make the transition? Find out by digging into the most in-depth report on the Browns rookie available anywhere...

DAVID VEIKUNE

Defensive End/Inside Linebacker

University of Hawaii Warriors

#94

6:02.3-257

Wahiawa, O`ahu, Hawaii

Fresno Community College

Campbell High School

Onate High School


OVERVIEW

Veikune certainly lives up to his team's nickname. Talk to any opposing offensive coordinator that has faced the Hawaii defensive end and they will tell you he is a true warrior on the field. Despite giving up as much as 80 pounds of bulk to most opposing offensive tackles, his relentless motor saw him register sixteen sacks and 25 tackles behind the line of scrimmage during his final two seasons.

Veikune (pronounced vay-koo-nay) is part of a military family, and has lived everywhere from Anchorage, Alaska to Winslow, Arizona, to Las Cruces, New Mexico and then to Hawaii. Several members of his family (mostly his uncles) are nobles from the Tongan Islands.

A cousin, Tony Fulilangi, was the fourth-ranked light heavyweight boxer in the world at one point. After fighting George Foreman, he went on to train Paea Wolfaram, who won a silver medal for the Tongan Islands at the 1996 Olympics Games in Atlanta. A cousin, Mapa Malupo, was a running back at College of the Canyons in California.

Veikune's fierce warrior nature was evident even during his prep days. At Campbell High School, he was rated one of the top defensive tackles in the country by Rivals.com. He added first-team All-State and All-Hawaii Red West honors from the Honolulu Star Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser after his senior year, where he competed as a defensive end.

During his senior and junior years, Veikune was named to the Larry Prince All-Katoosh Team, which is a list of the state's eleven hardest hitters. He was also an All-State honor-able mention selection his junior season. That year, he made 85 tackles (20 solos), five sacks and 12 stops for loss, as he also forced five fumbles, deflected eight passes, picked off another, blocked three kicks and registered 45 pressures.

As a senior, Veikune posted 92 tackles (21 solos), 26 stops for losses and 16.5 sacks. He recovered three fumbles, had 56 pressures, deflected three passes and blocked three blocked kicks. He also competed as a tight end.

Veikune also lettered once in track (throws) at Campbell High, participating in both the discus and shot put, as well as also playing for the school's baseball team. As a freshman and sophomore, he lettered in football at Onate High School in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

In 2004, Veikune enrolled as a 230-pound defensive end at the University of Colorado, spending the season on the scout team. He never played for the Buffaloes, transferring to Fresno City College in 2005, where he earned All-Northern California Conference honor-able mention.

Veikune was again on the move in 2006, enrolling at the University of Hawaii. He spent the 2006 campaign playing behind Melila Purcell at left defensive end. The 235-pounder had a pair of sacks to go with eleven tackles (9 solos), as he also returned two kickoffs for 25 yards that year.

As a junior, he started just one of thirteen games, but shared left end duties with Amari Purcell. He tallied 34 tackles (22 solos), as he led the team with seven sacks and finished third on the squad with 8.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, including one that resulted in a safety.

Veikune was a second-team All-Western Athletic Conference choice as a senior. The Lombardi Award Watch List member ranked third on the team with 73 tackles (47 solos). He again paced the Warriors with nine sacks, the fourth-best total in the league. He also led Hawaii and ranked fifth in the WAC with 16.5 stops for losses. He chipped in eleven pressures while breaking up three passes and causing four fumbles.

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES

2008 Best Games Florida, Oregon State, Fresno State, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, Utah State, Idaho, Cincinnati

2008 Worst Games San Jose State, Boise State, Notre Dame

2007 Best Games Louisiana Tech, Charleston Southern, Utah State, Nevada, Washington

2007 Worst Games Idaho, New Mexico State, Georgia

SCOUTING REPORT

GENERAL REPORT…GRADE-6.54

Body Structure

Veikune may lack the ideal height and bulk teams look for in a defensive end, but if possibly moved to linebacker, he has the physical hands and stout frame to split double teams. He is a well-proportioned player with a thick upper body and a strong torso. He has good lower frame muscle mass and while undersized, he demonstrates excellent power and leg drive. He has a tight waist and hips, with good abdomen definition, thick thighs and calves.

Athletic Ability

Veikune demonstrates very good lower body flexibility. He is able to redirect with no wasted motion and demonstrates proper knee bend and balance to be effective as a bull rusher. He lacks blazing speed, but is slippery getting through trash and has the straight-line burst to surprise a lethargic offensive tackle. He generates a quick first step to gain penetration and the agility and balance to pressure the pocket. He is relentless in pursuit and has that first step that allows him to greatly affect pass protection coverage. He is a disruptive force when given a free lane into the backfield (see 2008 Louisiana Tech, Nevada, Utah State and Idaho games). With his balance and strength, he is capable of working down the line and doing a nice job on stunts…GRADE-7.2

Football Sense

Veikune is a quick learner who also excels in the class room. He has a good grasp of defensive coverage and offensive blocking schemes. He is a minimal rep type that takes the plays from the chalkboard to the playing field with no problems. He is a focused athlete who plays until the whistle. He can adjust on the run and has no problems executing counter moves in attempts to defeat double teams…GRADE-6.4

Character

Veikune comes from a military family, so adhering to structure will never be a problem. He is well liked by his teammates and the coaching staff. He is well-mannered, getting good family support and has no known off-field issues. He is even-tempered off the field and accountable for his actions on it. He has good leadership skills and will gladly mentor the younger players. He is a good role model for the Hawaii program…GRADE-6.3

Competitiveness

Veikune plays with great passion and intensity. He wears his heart on the outside of his chest. He is a fearless type who plays through injuries that would sideline most players. He is a good mentor in the training room and pushes his teammates to excel. He is tough on himself after a loss, but immediately begins preparing for his next opponent. He plays with a mean streak and will not hesitate to mix it up in the trenches…GRADE-6.4

Work Habits

Veikune is the unquestioned leader in the training room and pushes others to get the best out of their ability. Despite being one of the lighter defensive linemen at the Combine, he nearly "blew" everyone away with his stellar performance in the bench press (35 reps). The staff says there is no better player to coach than him. He studies film, works hard in practices and is a regular and diligent worker in the weight room. He is a high tempo type that never takes a play off. He stays focused on the field and you will never see him step out of line and cost the team with an unnecessary penalty…GRADE-6.4

ATHLETIC REPORT…GRADE-6.19

Explosion/Pursuit

Veikune lacks the ideal quickness you look for in an edge rusher, but he can generate a quick first step, demonstrating a low pad level to get off the snap and gain leverage. He is not as quick laterally, but has that strong hand punch to jolt blockers when working down the line. He is sudden in his movements, easily beating a lethargic offensive tackle when coming off the edge. His initial step will generally affect the offensive protections and he is very efficient pressuring the pocket. He flies off the ball with good urgency, keeping his hands extended to fend off low blocks…GRADE-5.6

Strength at Point

Veikune has excellent hand strength and keeps his pad level down to engage and shed blocks. He has no problems vs. plays directed at him, but because of size and bulk issues, he has to remain active with his hands in order to disengage from blocks. His tenacity and raw power help him beat his bigger opponent and he has developed an effective outside arm action to get across the face of the blocker quickly. He is capable of playing with leverage and controlling blockers when he keeps his pads down. When he gets too high in his stance or short arms, he is susceptible to the combo blocks…GRADE-7.2

Use of Hands

When Veikune comes off the snap with arms fully extended, he can generate a strong jolt to rock the offensive tackle back on his heels. He is quick to get rid of the blocker because of his hand strength, but will revert to exposing himself at times. When he drops his hands, he leaves his body open for the blocker to attack and he then struggles to disengage. Because of his size, he needs to be quick with his hands to get rid of blockers. He plays better on the move, as linemen have trouble containing his speed and hand jolt. He can control the lead block and drive the fullback into the rush lane, which makes me feel that he could be a very nice fit as a 3-4 alignment inside linebacker. He has enough valid hand strength to make drag-down tackles and uses his wing span and arm strength to wrap and secure the ball carrier…GRADE-7.3

Lateral Pursuit/Effort

Veikune has an effective straight-line burst and also is effective changing direction. He has the lateral movement skills to work down the line, but must do a better job of maintaining balance and body control working his way through trash and getting over the piles. He has that relentless motor that makes him run long distances in attempts to make the play. He stays on his feet well, but can be tripped up by low blocks when sliding down the line…GRADE-5.5

Tackling Ability

Veikune is best when tackling on the move. He has adequate lateral agility, but his feet seem slower when he has to give the big chase, even though the effort is there. He keeps his pads down and arms extended to wrap and secure. His strength is his best asset here, as he can explode into the ball carrier, causing the opponent to lose site of the ball and create the turnover (see 2008 Fresno State, Nevada and New Mexico State games). He is effective at stopping ball carriers at the line of scrimmage (17 tackles for losses and 11 others where the ball carrier was stopped for no gain among Veikune's 73 tackles in 2008, as runners gained just 1.81 yards per carry vs. him in 2008). In 2008, you can see on film that Veikune was making a more conscious effort to have the correct pad level and helmet placement in order to make the tackle…GRADE-6.4

Run Defense

With his knee bend and lower body strength, Veikune generates good hip snap to get out of his stance to shock the offensive tackle. He sheds blocks adequately and can locate the ball at the point of attack. His lack of bulk hurts him when he doesn't get his hands up quick enough to prevent the blocker from attacking his body (slow to disengage). When he gets a side on a blocker, he keeps it and has the lower body power to maintain position at the point of attack. When he gets high in his stance, he will struggle to shed…GRADE-6.0
Pass Rush

While Veikune has good explosion off the edge and has become a disruptive force pressuring the pocket (11 hurries in 2008), it is rare to hear his number called on blitzes. He has the potential to be a capable pass rusher, demonstrating good knee bend with good arm under action to slip off blocks, but for some reason, he lacks consistency in keeping his balance when trying to finish with blockers all over him. He has the strength to pull and jerk down the blocker and can counter, rip and bull rush. He has experience shooting the inside gaps and a possible move to inside linebacker could see him have good success getting past the slower offensive guards…GRADE-6.1

Closing on the QB

Veikune is less effective taking the long loop off the edge to pressure the pocket that when charging up the middle because of a lack of blazing speed. With his size, he is susceptible to the combo blocks and while he has good arm strength, he will struggle to shed if he fails to keep his hands inside his frame. He has decent acceleration out of his stance, but gets much better production when he can shoot the gaps and angle to the passer rather than take the long distance run around the corner…GRADE-5.6

Instincts/Recognition

Veikune is alert to pocket protection and blocking pressure. He plays better when he is standing up, as he can dip and slip past a slower blocker rather than wear down by having to combat the linemen on every play. He has that vicious hand swipe and enough lower body power to split double teams, making him an interesting project for inside linebacker (feel he can be very good at getting gap penetration there)…GRADE-6.0

Compares To:

TEDY BRUSCHI-New England…Put Veikune on the defensive front and that team will probably just utilize him in a rotation. Years ago, coming out of Arizona, Bruschi was the same type of player that Veikune is – lacking in blazing speed, but made up for it with a relentless motor. With his ability to explode into bigger offensive lineman and make plays vs. action in front of him, Veikune could be a "poor man's" Bruschi in a 3-4 alignment, if the football gods decide to smile on him during draft day. What better place for him to hone his skills than learning from the master himself in New England?

OVERALL GRADE-6.25

CAREER NOTES

In 41 games at Hawaii, Veikune started fifteen contests, recording 118 tackles (78 solos) with 18.0 sacks for minus 74 yards, 28.0 stops for losses totaling 104 yards and twelve quarterback pressures…Deflected three passes and caused four fumbles…His four fumbles caused in 2008 were the most by a Warrior player in a season since Al Noga set the school season-record with six in 1986…His two forced fumbles vs. Nevada tied the school game-record set by several players, most recently by Melila Purcell (vs. New Mexico State in 2006).

2008 SEASON
Super Sleeper Team selection by The NFL Draft Report, as that scouting information service rates Veikune as the most underrated player in the Western Athletic Conference… Earned second-team All-WAC honors and was a member of the Lombardi Award (given to the nation's best lineman/linebacker) Watch List…Took over left defensive end duties, starting all fourteen games…Recorded a career-high 73 tackles (47 solos), the third-best total on the team…Led the Warriors and ranked fourth in the league with 9.0 sacks for minus 53 yards, as he also paced the defense with 16.5 stops for losses of 69 yards to go with eleven quarterback pressures…One of his stops behind the line of scrimmage resulted in a safety…Led the conference with four forced fumbles, the most by a Hawaii defender since Al Noga's six in 1986.

2008 GAME ANALYSIS
Florida…Veikune opened the season by posting six tackles (5 solos), including one that stopped QB Cameron Newton for a 3-yard loss on a bootleg around right end in the fourth quarter…Head to Head Competition-OT#77-Jason Watkins (6:06-298).

Weber State…The left defensive end had four tackles, including one that took down Trevyn for a 2-yard loss on a run in the second quarter, as Veikune also killed WSU's next series with a pass deflection followed by a pressure on QB Cameron Higgins that resulted in a fourth-&-10 incomplete pass…Head to Head Competition-OT#77-Zac Carlson (6:06-293).

Oregon State…OSU did not know what hit them, as Veikune led a swarming defense that guided Hawaii to a 45-7 victory…The left end was in on ten tackles, assisting on taking down tiny tailback Jacquizz Rodgers for a 1-yard loss on a third-&-2 snap in the second quarter, forcing the Beavers to punt…Head to Head Competition-OT#50-Mike Remmers (6:04-283).

Fresno State…Veikune delivered eight tackles (6 solos) in a 32-29 decision, as he also caused a fumble that Hawaii recovered, stripping the ball from Lonyae Miller on a 2-yard run in the third quarter…Head to Head Competition-OT#73-Kenny Avon (6:03-288).

Louisiana Tech…Veikune spent most of his day in the Tech backfield, making five solo tackles that included three stops for losses, as he added three pressures and deflected one pass…On Tech's first possession, the left end had two pressures, including one on third-&-10, as the opponent was then forced to punt…Head to Head Competition-OT#76-Cudahy Harmon (6:04-301).

Nevada…It took him eight games, but Veikune registered his first sack for 2008, actually coming up with two, as he caused two fumbles, pressured the QB twice and collected four tackles…The UH defense scored its first touchdown of the season on a fumble recovery in the first quarter when Veikune sacked Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick for a 15-yard loss and forced a fumble. John Fonoti scooped the ball up and ran in seven yards for UH's first defensive touchdown of the year and an early 7-0 lead…On a third-&-10 fourth quarter snap, the left end again took down Kaepernick for a 12-yard loss, forcing Nevada to punt…
Head to Head Competition-OT#73-Alonzo Durham (6:06:04-291).

Utah State…Having finally gotten his appetite for quarterbacks going the previous week, Veikune added 2.5 sacks, 3.5 stops for minus 15 yards and nine tackles (5 solos)…He forced the Aggies to punt when he leveled Ronald Scott at the line of scrimmage on a thrd-&-2 run during the game's opening drive…On the next possession, USU again punted after Veikune sacked QB Diondre Borel on third-&-10 for a 7-yard loss…Midway through the third quarter, Borel could not escape Veikune on an 8-yard sack and in the fourth quarter, another Aggies punt came after the Hawaii left end took Borel down for a 2-yard loss on a third-&-12 play…Head to Head Competition-OT#77-Derek Hoke (6:09-321).

New Mexico State…Veikune's only tackle was a 4-yard sack of QB Chase Holbrook on a third-&-9 snap, causing a fumble on the play…Head to Head Competition-OT#65-Polo Gutierrez (6:02-304).

Idaho…The Hawaii defensive end had four tackles with two pressures and a pair of stops behind the line of scrimmage, including a 6-yard sack of QB Nathan Enderle on a third-&-10 play and Veikune followed by tackling Deonte Jackson for a 4-yard loss on a rushing attempt on that late second quarter series…Head to Head Competition-OT#79-Bryce Sinclair (6:05-271).

Washington State…Veikune registered four tackles with a pressure and 1.5 sacks for minus 7 yards…His third-&-12 sack of QB Kevin Lopina for an 8-yard loss forced the Huskies to punt at the start of the second frame…Head to Head Competition-OT#76-Micah Hannam (6:04-279).

Cincinnati…Veikune extended his string of producing at least one sack to the sixth-straight game, as he posted seven tackles with a pressure and took down QB Tony Pike for a 6-yard loss late in the third quarter…Head to Head Competition-OT#79-Khalil El-Amin (6:04-312).

Notre Dame (Hawaii Bowl)…Veikune closed out his career with two tackles and a pressure, as he also stopped halfback Robert Hughes for a 2-yard loss on a rushing attempt during the game's first possession…Head to Head Competition-OT#74-Sam Young (6:08-313).

2007 SEASON

Earned Academic All-WAC first-team honors…Split left defensive end duties with Amari Purcell, appearing in thirteen games…Made 34 tackles (22 solos), leading the team and ranking third in the Western Athletic Conference with seven sacks for minus 19 yards… Tied for third on the team with 8.5 stops for losses of 21 yards and registered one quarter-back pressure.

2007 GAME HIGHLIGHTS

Veikune registered his first sack for the season, good for a 2-yard loss vs. Louisiana Tech…Made five tackles (3 solos) vs. Nevada-Las Vegas and had three solo hits that included a pair of sacks for minus 7 yards and three stops behind the line of scrimmage in the Charleston Southern clash…Registered a 3-yard sack and four hits vs. Utah State, as he also posted five tackles (2 solos), including a 3-yard sack vs. Nevada…Had another 3-yard sack and two solo stops in a 35-28 decision over Washington.

2006 SEASON

Earned his first varsity letter at Hawaii, appearing in fourteen games as a reserve left defensive end…Saw most of his action in passing situations and on special teams…Made eleven tackles (9 solos) with two sacks for minus 12 yards and three stops for losses of 14 yards…Gained 25 yards on a pair of kickoff returns.

2006 GAME HIGHLIGHTS

Recorded his first sack as a Warrior vs. Nevada-Las Vegas, good for an 8-yard loss, adding a pair of solo tackles…Had a stop for a 2-yard loss vs. Eastern Illinois and a 4-yard sack to go with a 7-yard kickoff return vs. Louisiana Tech…Returned a kickoff 18 yards in the Oregon State clash.

2005 SEASON

Played at Fresno City College as a left defensive end, earning All-Northern California Conference honorable mention.

2004 SEASON

Redshirted as a 230-pound defensive end at the University of Colorado, transferring to Fresno City College after the season.

INJURY REPORT

No injuries reported.

AGILITY TESTS

4.79 in the 40-yard dash…1.58 10-yard dash…2.81 20-yard dash…4.46 20-yard shuttle… 7.20 three-cone drill…33-inch vertical jump…9'2" broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 35 times…32 ¾-inch arm length…10 ¼-inch hands.

HIGH SCHOOL

Attended Campbell (Ewa Beach, O'ahu, Ha.) High School as a junior and senior, playing football for head coach Tumoana Kenessey…Rated one of the top defensive tackles in the country by Rivals.com…Added first-team All-State and All-Hawaii Red West honors from the Honolulu Star Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser after his senior year, where he competed as a defensive end…During his senior and junior years, Veikune was named to the Larry Prince All-Katoosh Team, which is a list of the state's eleven hardest hitters… All-State honorable mention selection his junior season…That year, he made 85 tackles (20 solos), five sacks and 12 stops for loss, as he also forced five fumbles, deflected eight passes, picked off another, blocked three kicks and registered 45 pressures…As a senior, Veikune posted 92 tackles (21 solos), 26 stops for losses and 16.5 sacks…Also recovered three fumbles, had 56 pressures, deflected three passes and blocked three blocked kicks. He also competed as a tight end…Also lettered once in track (throws) at Campbell High, participating in both the discus and shot put, as well as also playing for the school's base-ball team…As a freshman and sophomore, he lettered in football at Onate High School in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

PERSONAL

Sociology major, earning Western Athletic Conference academic honors…Son of Sheila and Oma Veikune of Wahiawa, O‘ahu…Part of a military family, Veikune lived everywhere from Anchorage, Alaska to Winslow, Arizona, to Las Cruces, New Mexico and then to Hawaii…Several members of his family (mostly his uncles) are nobles from the Tongan
Islands…A cousin, Tony Fulilangi, was the fourth-ranked light heavyweight boxer in the world at one point. After fighting George Foreman, he went on to train Paea Wolfaram, who won a silver medal for the Tongan Islands at the 1996 Olympics Games in Atlanta… Cousin, Mapa Malupo, was a running back at College of the Canyons in California…Born 12/12/85 in Anchorage, Alaska…Resides in Wahiawa, O'ahu, Hawaii.


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