Prior to the 2012 NFL Draft, I believed one of the greatest position of needs for the New York Giants was safety because they lacked depth and experience behind Kenny Philips and Antrel Rolle, the Giants forged ahead after adding Stevie Brown and Will Hill in the off-season. Brown had a very good season, and Hill flashed a lot of ability, but is either player an answer at safety if Phillips leaves via free agency (and there is a rumor out there, which I can not substantiate at all, that Phillips health is a long term concern for the Giants) so it's very possible the Giants are looking at an expensive Antrel Rolle, Will Hill, Stevie Brown, and Tyler Sash as their four safeties. And possibly Terrell Thomas at safety as well. The safety position is filled with question marks about the long term potential of this group.
With that in mind, we're going to use of 2013 NFL Draft prospect profile series to look at a few safety prospects over the next week, and we'll start today with the consensus number one safety prospect in this draft class -- Texas Longhorns safety Kenny Vaccaro.
Vaccaro's biggest asset is his versatility. Vaccaro has been asked to cover slot receivers, play free safety and up in the box for run support. Vaccaro does it all and he does it all well. Vaccaro has a good/size speed combination. Vaccaro plays physical in coverage and in run support, but also has fluid hips which allows him to match up in man coverage. He has above average ball-skills, but not great ball skills.
Vaccaro is often too aggressive and has questionable instincts. he, often, can play too aggressive which results in big plays down the field. He has thrown at least one punch at a player on the field, which could bring about the question of his maturity. Even though he has good speed, he doesn't have great speed.
Player comparison: Morgan Burnett (NFL.com), Antrel Rolle (Me)
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Vaccaro does fit with the Giants, he could be an ideal player to play the Buffalo Nickel spot that the Giants have liked to use because of his versatility in coverage and run support. He reminds me of Rolle because of that same versatility, but also because he is a super-aggressive player, which could lead to some big plays for the offense in the NFL.
Big Board Rankings
CBS Sports-14th overall
Mocking the Draft-24th
Big Blue View Board-27th
One of my personal favorite draftniks is Matthew Waldman and he has a terrific breakdown of Vaccaro. This is part of it:
He can cover elite receivers as disparate as the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Kennan Allen and the 5-foot-9, 174-pound Tavon Austin. While he’ll lose a battle or two, he’s shown that he can win these matchups when examining the overall scope of the game. Size. Speed. Skill. Intensity. Vaccaro has it all.
Now, Waldman might even like Vaccaro more than I do but that does sum up his positive attributes. I'm a little more worried about his speed and his pass coverage. Safeties are the last line of defense, Vaccaro at his very best could be Troy Polamalu, but he will likely be more in line with Rolle who plays a variety of positions pretty well for the Giants, but gives up a few too many big plays.
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