Throughout the 2012 NFL, I’ve watched precious little college football tape. I generally save my study of collegiate athletes for the weeks leading up to the draft, but I figured I’d sit down for a bit and watch some tape of various players. The first player I decided to look at is one who’s been mocked to the Patriots by some of my friends, and I can see why.
Kenny Vaccaro is a safety from the University of Texas who stands 6’1″ and weighs 215 lbs. That’s about the standard size of a safety you’d want on an NFL team, and Vaccaro demonstrates both solid agility and strength for that size. Perhaps the most important attribute of Vaccaro is his ability to cover in zone, whether it’s shallow, mid, or two-deep coverage. This would fit in extremely well with Matt Patricia’s defense, and he’d be an instant starter at strong safety on that alone. He shows knowledge that greatly surpasses most other safeties when it comes to his reads, and he can cover any receiver whether it’s a tight end, a slot, or an outside receiver; he can even play in press.
He’s also a physical tackler who reminds me a bit of Kam Chancellor with his hits. He’s a solid blitzer who knows just how to get pressure, although he’ll be enveloped by smart tackles. Vaccaro takes on blocks well and seems like a player who can play anywhere.
In fact, his versatility is what might drive Bill Belichick to consider him. He’s played on special teams this year, and that goes a long way for Belichick. Hopefully the Patriots won’t have to trade up to get him, because he’d be an excellent addition to the team.