While there were some coordinators and scouts sent to the Notre Dame Pro Day yesterday to figure out the potential of drafting linebacker Manti Te’o or drafting tight end Tyler Eifert in the first round, the Cincinnati Bengals also sent the big guns — defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer — to the University of Texas to work out defensive end Alex Ocafor and to see if it would be worth their while to trade up a few spaces to pick up safety Kenny Vaccaro.
As it stands, it seems that the Bengals’ top draft need is for them to pick up a safety and although there are some great choices towards the end of the first round, such as the University of Florida strong safety Matt Elam and Florida international strong safety Jonathan Cyprian, it seems that the Bengals may have decided that it would be more worthwhile to trade up to take this year’s top-ranked safety.
It’s clear now that safety Taylor Mays does not have a great future with the Bengals and if there is any position that they greatly need a first round draft pick for, it’s to fix the hole in their secondary — but at what cost will this come to the Bengals?
Both Elam and Cyprian are within their grasp, and it is also quite likely that one of them could still be floating on the top of the draft pool by the Bengals’ first pick of the second round at pick 37th overall. Now with the news that Zimmer himself has gone to the Texas pro day, however, it’s possible that the Bengals are looking to put all of their eggs into the Vaccaro basket.
A pretty decent basket it is, too. Although the Longhorns did not have a great season in 2012 losing four of their games, Vaccaro was still one of the players on this defense that had a standout year with 92 tackles, two interceptions and seven passes defended.
He earned second-team All-Conference honors and proved that he is the top safety in this year’s draft. He has an excellent ability to stick with any slot receivers that line up and has the hip movement, back-step speed and great direction change ability not to allow them any room.
What is Kenny Vaccaro worth to the Bengals?
In order for the Bengals to be able to get their hands on Vaccaro, they will need to trade up past the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams. This means that they will either need to trade up to the 15th spot belonging to the New Orleans Saints (who might also be looking for a strong safety), or to the Carolina Panthers at 14th.
It’s likely to cost them at least their good second round pick this year and another high draft pick, possibly their round one pick for next year. I don’t like giving things away for nothing (or for very little as the case may be), but with four teams looking for the same guy, these teams have a lot of bargaining power so it’s may cost more than that.
I think that the shrewd businessmen at the Bengals are probably unwilling to give too much away for Vacarro — probably not much more than a first-round pick and a later round pick, especially when there are a few other holes that they need to fill.
But, if the price is right, then Vacarro will be playing his football in Ohio next season.
Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals Writer. Follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88