The New Orleans Saints selected Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft in an attempt to fix a woeful defensive unit coming off the worst statistical season in NFL history.
Vaccaro joins a safety position currently filled with names such as Malcom Jenkins, Roman Harper, Rafael Bush, Jim Leonhard, Isa Abdul-Quddus and Jerico Nelson.
In other words, the Saints’ coaching staff has some work to do.
There’s no doubt Vaccaro was the best player at his position in this year’s class. He’s a talented, versatile defender who can play both safety positions (free and strong) as well as act as a nickel corner. If we had to place a lot of money on it, the safe bet is Vaccaro will be the starter at strong safety across from Jenkins when the season gets underway.
As far as grading the selection goes, you have to look at a few different factors. One is value. New Orleans managed to find a player who was best in his class at his position—and at a position of need. The Saints did well here.
Next you have to look at players they could have selected, as well as other needs they could have filled. There’s a need on the offensive line, but that wasn’t going to be filled with the top six offensive linemen coming off the board in the first 12 picks.
The Saints did pass on taking a talented pass-rusher such as Jarvis Jones, who came off the board two picks later to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It appears the Saints coaching staff was more focused on not giving up the big play and has trust in guys like Junior Galette, Victor Butler and Martez Wilson to provide the pass-rush.
All in all, if the Saints were truly unable to trade down, Vaccaro was the right way to go. He’s a game-changer in the secondary and a major step in the right direction.
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