Throughout the 2012 season, the St. Louis Rams started Craig Dahl. Throughout the season, it became apparent that the Rams would draft a safety in the early rounds.
It's not a shock then that Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro is one of the players often mocked to the Rams. He has the skill set that makes defense coordinators smile, and he's even able to jump into a slot corner role. Which is an underrated, but import asset.
I also provided videos, another scouting report, and even checked in with grand master of TST scouting, 3k, so you can hear multiple sides on Vaccaro. Enjoy.
Games viewed- click on the video, and the clips will open in a new window.
Alamo Bowl: Texas D vs. Oregon St.
College: Texas Longhorns
Height/weight: 6-1, 218 pounds. (before combine)
The major plus to Vaccaro's game is his versatility. Texas moved him around a lot, so he wasn't at safety as much as you would like. He was a slot corner, some occasions he also was at a linebacker position.
He doesn't shy away from contact.
He's not, he might run a 4.4, or 4.5, but I see enough speed for him to play safety.
He fights off blockers
Has a good memory, if he sees a formation, that was a run before, he will attack it.
Pretty good at man coverage
He did a good job against Tavon Austin (fast wide receiver) in the slot.
He does play aggressive
When there's players around the ball carrier, or he's not close to the play he will slow down to a jog, and let them handle it.
Although he's a good slot corner, when he's playing zone, he has a tendancy to watch QB, and it causes him to get beat.
Does he play the ball? I rarely saw him make a a swat, but he wasn't really close to his man, or he was beat.
Would be a better blitzer, if he attacks, it kind of looks like he slows down, then builds up.
He takes poor angles, which makes him looks slower then he is, and seems like he relys on his athleticism more.
He will miss tackles, sometimes really, really, really bad. (I think it's the second play of the OK ST game, you can see this)
Although he has a good memory, and a willing tackler on runs, he was a victim of play actions.
Sometimes he plays too aggressive, when a player is down he might tackle their back with his shoulder, which I saw on more then one occasion.
Maturity issues. He's thrown punches (one Rams defender would be proud), and I've seen him get upset (who wouldn't) when the offense catches on him, or it's a big down.
He's a good athlete, and a good slot corner, but will he be a good free safety? Personally, I don't think so. At least not out the gate. He's not a ball hawk, and he isn't always in position to make plays in the passing game. I didn't see Vaccaro targeted much, but if the wide receiver didn't catch the ball, it usually wasn't because of Kenny making a play on the ball. He does have big upside, and I see why he's the best safety available. If he can get a good defensive back coach to help him with his coachable negatives, he could a really good free safety.
How would he fit with the Rams?
He should play the role that Quintin Mikell played last season. Move Mikell to free safety. Because Vaccaro, out the gate, would be a good player in the box. He could also play weakside linebacker to cover tight ends on passing downs. I wouldn't trust him playing center field for this team. Mikell could teach Vaccaro how to play in the box, and how to play free safety. But I wouldn't want Vaccaro to play free safety for this team day 1. Maybe his second season.
But should the Rams draft him at 16?
If he's not playing free safety, then sure. I think he would be good in the box, and he has good upside. Yes you would want a better impact guy, but I think he would make plays at SS.
Vaccaro is a confident, athletic All-Big 12 performer with potential as a combo safety (14 pass break-ups the past two seasons, often playing as a nickel back). He still needs to improve his instincts as a last line of defense. An athlete whose aggressive nature and man coverage skills will be coveted, Vaccaro figures to be one of the first safeties selected in April’s draft, most likely in the second or third round -- much higher than his uncle, A.J. Johnson, a sixth-round pick out of Texas State in 1989 who played cornerback in the NFL for seven seasons and was a member of the Super Bowl XXVI-winning Washington Redskins.
Joe's opinion on Kenny Vaccaro:
Given that we're heading into the combine and pro days, I'd first note that Vaccaro's injury history is as clean as it gets. He's got a strong cover skill set (play identification, body control, athleticism) and a plus run support game, though his angles aren't as strong as, say, Florida's Matt Elam in the run game.
The question for me is role. The Rams didn't really have a huge difference in responsibility between their two safety spots. Whether that's because personnel forced Fisher's hands or out of preference, I'm obviously not in the know. Vaccaro would give us a safety with better passing defense than anyone currently on the roster, though that bar's set pretty low.
I think it sets up an interesting value comparison. Does Vaccaro help the pass defense more than a quality RT, LG, TE or game-ready WR would the passing offense? Does the defense become more versatile with an athletic LB that would allow more 4-3 looks?
That's the question Jeff Fisher and Les Snead will be asking if Vaccaro's available at 16 and 22.