(Editor’s Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held April 25-27, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today’s featured player is Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro).
Name: Kenny Vaccaro
Age: 23 (born Jan. 1, 1990)
Honors: Vaccaro was named first-team All-Big XII in both 2011 and 2012, and was tabbed a 2012 first-team All-American by Pro Football Weekly.
Key Stat: It’s understandable to want more turnovers out of the Cowboys’ secondary, after the unit recorded just seven picks in 2012, but Vaccaro might not be the ballhawk who turns that around – at least not at this point in his career. While he amassed a massive 264 tackles during his Texas career, he only managed five interceptions in three seasons as a starter at free safety.
Where He’s Headed: Vaccaro is far and away the best safety prospect in this class, and he’s likely the only one who will go in the first round. Safety isn’t typically one of the draft’s glamor positions, and it takes a special prospect to earn a top-10 selection from that spot. Mid-round is more likely, but he still may go before the Cowboys are on the clock at No. 18.
How He Helps the Cowboys: It seems like safety has been a draft priority in Dallas for several years, but the Cowboys haven’t been quite able to address it. Vaccaro would certainly add depth and bring talent to the secondary, and it’s doubtful the addition of veteran
Scouts’ Take: Should be the first safety taken off the board. … Played in the slot the majority of the time because the coaches at Texas were trying to protect themselves where they were lacking at other defensive positions. … Had a slow time at the Combine and was unable to better that time at his Pro Day in Austin, but did drills with former Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and workout was solid. … There is no question about his ability to pedal, spin and drive. His 20-yard shuttle time at the Combine was 4.06, which is rare for a safety. … As mentioned, there are plenty of times where you see him near or on the line of scrimmage and in the mix on tackles. … Of the games I was able to study, the one against Oklahoma was his poorest by far. As a whole, the Texas defense was awful but that’s no excuse. He took bad angles, missed a tackle in the hole that gave up a long touchdown, was
fooled on a reverse and didn’t chase on a play from the backside. … In the TCU game, he moved better and quicker. He had some open-field tackles and stepped up in the hole with some force. … Against West Virginia, he covered Tavon Austin out of the slot and showed a nose for the ball to his side. … Doesn’t play afraid or scared. … Used in a lot of different roles, have even seen him on the slot blitz getting home. … Like his athletic ability and toughness for the position. – Bryan Broaddus