Dallas Cowboys Interested in Safety Kenny Vaccaro; Could Nab Him at No. 18

Eli Nachmany@EliNachmanyCorrespondent IIIMarch 10, 2013

AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 15:  Safety Kenny Vaccaro #4 of the Texas Longhorns attempts a first quarter tackle of running back Joseph Randall #1 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys on October 15, 2011 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.  Oklahoma State beat Texas 38-26.  (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

ESPN Dallas' Calvin Watkins reported that the Cowboys value safety Kenny Vaccaro "immensely", which could be a sign of things to come for Dallas.

Vaccaro is slowly becoming the highest-rated safety in the 2013 draft class and the former Longhorn's combination of size, strength and fluidity in coverage is appealing to a lot of teams.

The safety checked in at an even 6'0" at the Scouting Combine, weighing almost 215 pounds. Though he ran a somewhat mediocre 4.63 40-yard dash, he looked very good in the positional drills and was a top performer in the 20-yard shuttle, running a 4.06 and showcasing elite lateral agility.

That said, the safety's true value can be seen when he puts on his helmet and shoulder pads. Unlike a lot of other defensive prospects in the class, Vaccaro almost never 'disappears' on tape, meaning that he's always somewhat involved in the play and that he has an uncanny knack for finding the football.

However, thanks to his great value, a number of other teams have telegraphed interest. With the 16th overall pick, the St. Louis Rams could nab up this Texas star and satiate their need for a safety this offseason.

Don't even be surprised if Vaccaro goes to the Detroit Lions with the fifth overall pick. Dee Milliner would have to be off the board and the Lions will have had to have struck out on defensive backs in free agency, which are two distinct possibilities.

Watkins opines that Jerry Jones may engineer a draft-day trade if some of the chips start falling the wrong way. Vaccaro may not fall past St. Louis—depending on the Cowboys' draft board, it could be worth it for Jones to put together a package for the 14th or 15th overall pick in the interest of jumping ahead of the safety-hungry Rams.

Dallas traded all the way up to the sixth overall selection last year to draft defensive back Morris Claiborne, so the team's front office isn't afraid to make cavalier transactions to build a star-studded defensive backfield.

New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin needs the right players if he's going to be able to legitimize his 4-3 scheme early on. Getting a complete safety like Vaccaro could help ease the team's transition on defense.

While he tackles well, the defender's best attribute is his ability to play "robber" coverage in the box. With both Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr, Dallas' cornerback tandem doesn't need as much safety help over the top as some other team's duos do. This simple fact will allow Vaccaro to roam around the field at will, which should lead to big defensive plays.

After playing the last four years in Austin, Texas, Vaccaro wouldn't have to relocate much to play for Dallas. He's familiar with the area, familiar with the scheme and he'd be in the right position to succeed with the Cowboys.

He may not fall past No. 18.

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