Monday, April 29, 2013

Kenny Vaccaro - What It Means to the Saints

1st & 5:

Why Kenny Vaccaro Makes Sense for the Black & Gold

The #15 Pick was met with a mix of skepticism and gratitude yesterday, as the New Orleans Saints drafted Safety Kenny Vaccaro of Texas. For those who aren’taware, Vaccaro was the Top Prospect in terms of a Safety coming into this draft. He was met with a mixed reaction among Who Dat Nation. A lot of people were wanting to snab the hometown favorite, Barkevious Mingo, however he was appropriately snatched up by the Dawg Pound, Cleveland. When the draft played out, we had great choices, and the option to pass on Jarvis Jones, who was later drafted by Pittsburgh, really sent out a huge mix of reactions.

So hear me out. Here’s my take, and you could choose to like it, love it, or hate it.

1 – It Makes Sense
First, you have to understand & appreciate the evolution of the NFL. Teams are now being more pass heavy these days, and it’s evident with the amount of 4,000 & 5,000 yard passers over the course of the last few seasons. Not to mention, think about the new looks teams are coming up with, mainly someone like New England, with the two Tight End attack. When you have a defense that gave up the yardage they did last season in being the Saints, coupled with the addition of a new DC, Rob Ryan, and a swap to a 3-4, then you have a recipe made for a player like Vaccaro. The Nickel will be something we rely on in Down and Long, and 3rd Down situations, and you will see more 3-3-5 formations. So that simply means it could be any variation that Ryan throws out there from a secondary of Greer, Robinson, Moore, White, Jenkins, Harper, Quddus, and Vaccaro. This isn’t even counting the numerous looks we could have. Could you imagine Vaccaro & Jenkins in the back, Greer & Moore lined up as corners, and Harper up as an OLB blitzing in normal 3-4 packages? Pretty scary thought indeed.

2 – Coach Ryan & Payton Are Satisfied With Our Front 7
Sure, you could say if Star Loutelei was available, we might have nabbed him. We passed on Jarvis Jones, an OLB. The bottom line is that we passed on a pass rusher. I’dlove to think that our faith in Rob Ryan is merited, and that he feels great about the players he has to work with. Let’s not forget that we have added some help, including Victor Butler & Kenyon Coleman, two of Ryan’s disciples, and someone who will help teach the 3-4 scheme. You will see a huge mix of looks from that front seven, and each player will have a specific role that will play to their strength.

3 – The Potentials & Comparisons
He’s already been called a ‘hybrid’ for his abilities, that he can play the Nickel Corner (Slot) & Safety positions effectively. Many of you think that he’s replacing Roman Harper, and that isn’t happening, at least not this season, and probably not even the next. Harper was drafted in 2006, and while he has had some struggles in the past, and overcome them. The challenge still remains that my buddy always loves to throw out there, name me 5 better Strong Safeties off the top of your head, and why? Prolly can’tdo it. Aside from this, Vaccaro has a great teacher, to say the least. His style has been linked to players like Eric Weddle, Adrian Wilson, Troy Polamalu, & even Charles Woodson (yes please). While it is way too early to be seen, the talent can quickly evolve.

4 – He Can Tackle
During his Junior year, he made 82 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 8 pass defenses, and 2 picks. During his Senior year, he outpaced the previous year with 107 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss. He also added 2 picks, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery. What you hear on his analysis is his ability to cover the field, and quickness to the ball. He has physical stature that allows him to break off of any blocking assignments to make the tackle. As you know, this is something the Saints defense could greatly benefit from.

5 – I Trust Loomis & Payton
Prior to the draft, Vaccaro’s last visit was with the Saints. Sean Payton said it best, ‘We watched every snap played at Texas….he has very good football intelligence’,
"We are excited we were able to get a player we had put in our cloud and spent a lot of time on," Payton said. "With Kenny clearly he's a guy we felt very comfortable with." Vaccaro is someone whose role isn’t clear right now, whether that is Weak or Strong Safety. If memory serves all of you correctly, we didn’t have Coach Payton last season, and he’s had nothing but time on his hands to look at draft prospects. Do you honestly think Coach got the wrong guy?

To summarize, I love this pick. I feel great about the abilities Vaccaro can bring to the Saints. There’s no need to knock the fact he didn’t have flashy interception stats at Texas, five to be exact. He was the guy chosen, and will fit in well with this defense.

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