Kenny Vaccaro to Saints: How Does the Safety Fit with New Orleans?

Will OsgoodAnalyst IApril 25, 2013

Oct 6, 2012; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns safety Kenny Vaccaro (4) looks into the back field during the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. West Virginia beat Texas 48-45. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday night the New Orleans Saints selected Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro with the 15th pick in the 2013 NFL draft. 

Vaccaro was universally considered the No. 1 safety this year's draft. Many analysts considered him a top-10 selection overall. 

Vaccaro seemed excited in the past few weeks about the possibility of joining the New Orleans Saints. 

The question becomes a simple one: How does Vaccaro fit in the New Orleans Saints' 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan? 

Quite simply, Vaccaro is a wonderful fit. Though Vaccaro is not a premium "ball hawk," he is the most solid safety to be found in the last two drafts. 

One of the great things Vaccaro brings to New Orleans defense is versatility. Between Malcolm Jenkins, Isa Abdul-Quddus, Jim Leonhard and Rafael Bush, the Saints have five guys who can cover receivers in man-to-man coverage and who possess excellent sideline-to-sideline range as a deep safety. 

In other words, the Saints will probably play man-to-man defense on nearly every down. Vaccaro is not overly physical, but physical enough to handle tight ends and the big physical receivers who inhabit the NFC South. 

Keep in mind, too, the egregious run defense of the Saints just a season ago (ranked 32nd overall). Vaccaro is capable of playing effectively in the box. While not the greatest tackler, Vaccaro will fill holes quickly and slow runners enough to allow other to catch up to make quick tackles. 

In obvious passing situations, Vaccaro is the guy who will fill some of the dime-back role and play opposing tight ends and slot receivers. 

Still, Keenan Lewis, Jabari Greer, Patrick Robinson and Corey White make up for a nice quartet of corners. Depth is the key to this selection. 

Vaccaro may not start from day one, but will find his way into the lineup somewhere very quickly. He will definitely play in the nickel situation. 

He will also be an effective special teams player immediately. 

For a team who did not have many obvious needs going into the draft, taking Vaccaro as best player available was as good as Mickey Loomis and Co. could do with the 15th overall pick Thursday night.