It may have taken a little longer than he would have hoped, but Kenny Vaccaro was drafted by the New Orleans Saints with the No. 15 pick of the 2013 NFL Draft on Thursday night.
Vaccaro shared an embrace with his former defensive backs coach Duane Akina before offering his younger brother Kevin a warm hug. Vaccaro then made the short walk from the draft green room to the podium where NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was there to greet him.
He wasn’t the first defensive back drafted, than honor went to Alabama’s Dee Milliner at No. 9. Vaccaro was the third defensive back selected and he lands in New Orleans, who had the 31st ranked pass defense a year ago. New Orleans needed help defensively, and Vaccaro meets a lot of the Saints’ needs.
Vaccaro is the first Longhorn to be drafted in the first round since Earl Thomas was taken 14th overall by Seattle in 2010. Vaccaro joins an aging Saints secondary and should push for playing time immediately.
Florida’s vaunted defensive tackle Shariff Floyd was still on the board at No. 15, but New Orleans decided to patch up its atrocious secondary first and foremost. Vaccaro will make things easier for the Saints’ secondary as long as he wraps up when tackling. Vacarro brings an intensity to the Saints that has been lacking since the likes of Kyle Turley and Jonathan Vilma were at their best in intimidating opposing offenses.
Vaccaro could very well find himself closer to the line of scrimmage in nickel packages, much like he became accustomed to in his senior year at Texas. The bottom line is Vaccaro brings a heavy-hitting mentality to New Orleans and he is a nice fit for a team looking for a replenished defensive mindset. Expect Vaccaro to make some noise at some point during the upcoming season for the Saints.