The 2013 NFL Draft boasts yet another intriguing defensive back from the University of Texas; this time coming in the form of free safety, Kenny Vaccaro. Vaccaro is an impressive athlete with prototypical size and athleticism for both the free and strong safety positions, standing at 6’1″ and weighing 215 pounds.
NFL Player Comparison: Chris Clemons
Proj. Draft Position: Top 25
Injury History: None
Key Stats: 48 games, 259 Tackles, 13 TFL, 5 INT, 4 FF, 20 PD
Career Accolades: Team Captain, Pro Football Weekly 2012 All-American, 2011 First Team All-Big 12
Kenny Vaccaro is reportedly a team leader, after opting to stay with the Texas Longhorns for his senior season after an impressive junior campaign. He was recruited out of Early High School in Early, Texas, as a four-star defensive back, playing both cornerback and safety. He was arrested for failure to obey prior to the 2012 season. According to multiple reports, Vaccaro, along with teammates Alex Okafor and Barrett Matthews were at a pizza restaurant waiting in line when they got into a disturbance with a police officer. When the police officer told them to “keep it moving,” one refused, and they all were subsequently arrested. This isn’t a serious incident, and shouldn’t be reflected on his character in pre-draft interviews.
Kenny Vaccaro has the exact blend of speed and size you look for at the safety position. He is consistent with his hip movement while in coverage, and has the speed to keep up with receivers in the slot. Vaccaro is extremely versatile, as he has seen extensive time playing slot cornerback and strong safety, in addition to his natural free safety position. With the National Football League turning more towards pass-first offenses, there is a need for defensive backs that can adequately play all of the positions, and Vaccaro excels at each one.
While playing in the nickel package, Vaccaro displayed the ability to press and jam wide receivers at the line of scrimmage. He’s extremely instinctive and reads opposing quarterbacks’ eyes very well. Vaccaro has excellent range, which is seen when he’s asked to play single-high in the defensive backfield. Vaccaro has average ball skills, but does a great job of breaking up passes. He can be beat in man coverage against bigger receivers, and is at his best playing in zone.
Vaccaro is not afraid to play the run, and will take on any ballcarrier on the field. He takes some questionable angles at times and he has a tendency to miss quite a few tackles. He’s very inconsistent in his tackling, but his technique is near-perfect, wrapping up ball carriers, while very rarely leaving his feet. He can be easily pushed out of the play at times by bigger receivers and tight ends, but he shows hustle on every down. His instincts are second-to-none, and always finds a way to be near the ball.
Vaccaro is a complete defensive back that should make a nice transition to the National Football League as a first round draft pick. His versatility will push him up draft boards compared to the other safeties in the class, who excel in one specific area. Vaccaro was a four-year player for Texas, and the experience shows in his instinctive play.
The post 2013 NFL Draft Prospects: Texas Safety Kenny Vaccaro appeared first on Queen City Sports.