Saints selected Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro with the 15th pick in round 1. He is built like a cover-2 linebacker and can plug rush lanes.
He has accounted for 11 turnovers since becoming a college starter and his 264 tackles are the most for any Texas player on the roster over the last two seasons.
Vaccaro has started 32 of 51 games at Texas (15 at strong safety and 13 at free safety) and even played three games at outside linebacker. Saints coach Sean Payton said they watched a lot of film on him and had seen almost all of his college plays; he was impressed by Vaccaro's play as a nickel back, an area in the Saints defense that was a point to upgrade this offseason.
An All-American and All-Big 12 performer in 2012, Vaccaro has great ball skills and played against top college talent. He has good range, covers a lot of ground and proves himself as a physical run defender who likes to hit. He will jump pass routes, is smooth and fluid. He didn’t come up with many interceptions, however, with only two in 2012. Payton said the lack of picks was because of the way Texas used him; Vaccaro didn’t have his eyes on the quarterback often, but film shows he did have some dropped balls.
Vaccaro does play hard and with passion, so at times he will get too aggressive and leave cut-back lanes open. A nice sized safety and a versatile prospect who is smooth and fluid in his backpedal, he can run with wideouts, backs and tight ends.
There were two players on the Saints board when their pick came up but they would not say who the other was but went with safety Vaccaro. He ran a 4.59 40 and bench pressed 225 pounds 15 times. His other measureables include 32 3/4 inch arms, 10 inch hands, and a 77 5/8 inch wingspan.
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