The San Diego Chargers have been looking for a strong safety to complement Eric Weddle for years. Though it’s San Diego’s offense that will needs much attention in next week’s NFL Draft, don’t be surprised if the Chargers surprise with a defensive playmaker in the first round.
Kenny Vaccaro is the next great Texas defensive back turned sure-fire first-round pick. At 6-feet, 214 pounds, he has the prototypical size and strength NFL teams covet. He shines in man coverage and is known for his hard-hitting and for being physical with receivers. He was utilized at both safety and nickel back at Texas and was extremely effective as a blitzer off the edge. His versatility and athleticism makes him comparable to our very own Eric Weddle.
However, unlike Weddle, Vaccaro needs to improve his instincts. He also doesn’t have elite straight-line speed and is occasionally too aggressive, running himself out of the play.
After cutting Atari Bigby, allowing Corey Lynch to leave in free agency and watching Brandon Taylor tear his ACL late last season, the Chargers need to finally put an end to the question mark at safety. Taylor could be the answer, but will be hobbled by his injury and won’t get the necessary practice time while rehabbing this offseason.
Having a good strong safety would allow Weddle to freely roam more often and use his instincts to find the football. Also, it would take pressure off San Diego’s young cornerbacks, knowing they have adequate help over the middle.
Though 11th overall may sound a bit high for Vaccaro to go, there have been rumors that the Miami Dolphins (12th overall pick), Carolina Panthers (14th overall pick), New Orleans Saints (15th overall pick) and Dallas Cowboys (18th overall pick) may be interested in the Texas standout. Vaccaro is clearly in demand and well worth the Chargers’ 11th overall pick.