If there is one area of the 2013 NFL Draft class that could be called shallow in many regards, the safety position is that spot. Teams have been high on a few names, but that may be more due to need rather than actually excellence at the position. Clearly the St. Louis Rams have a need at the safety spot having purged both starters from the 2012 roster this offseason. Jeff Fisher’s crew will need to do some serious retooling in that area in the draft, and here is a player that would begin that effort on the right note.
Kenny Vaccaro, Safety
The word versatility is thrown around quite a bit in the NFL these days and Vaccaro would be quite the example of it in a football sense. He is terrific as an in the box safety to help against the run and act like an extra linebacker, but he also has the ability to cover in space and get down over the slot receiver or a tight end. Vaccaro has very fluid hips and his movement looks natural in his backpedal and when chasing laterally. Instincts are evident as well as Vaccaro is capable of reading the quarterback’s eyes and closing quickly to break up passes or get the interception.
That transitions well to here as he doesn’t display very good ball skills, dropping at least a few interceptions during his time in school. Vaccaro does play a bit of reckless abandon which is to be expected of an instinctual player, but he gets burned far too often by being overaggressive. There is some question about his top speed with a 40-yard dash time of 4.63 at the Combine. When he takes bad angles due to his aggressive nature, that lack of speed comes back to bite him as he cannot recover on play action fakes.
WHY DOES HE FIT?
The primary reason Vaccaro would make sense with the Rams is because they don’t have any starting caliber safeties on their current depth chart. He would also aid a group of linebackers that doesn’t have much outside of James Laurinaitis and Jo-Lonn Dunbar by coming down in the box against the run. Adding him would certainly make sense for the Rams with their second choice at number 22 overall in the first round, but not so much with the early selection at number 16.
While it may be a gamble to wait on Vaccaro in a league that covets playmaking safeties, it’s a calculated risk the Rams need to make. He would be a welcomed addition to the roster, but only at the right spot in round one.