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Kenny Vaccaro Drafted by Saints
Updated: Thursday, April 25 2013, 10:00 PM CDT
Texas S Kenny Vaccaro was selected 15th overall by the New Orleans Saints in the 2013 NFL Draft and is the 16th first-round pick in the Mack Brown era.
“I am excited,” said Vaccaro. “The Saints were my last visit, and I had a good feeling about it. I am ready to do whatever the Saints want me to do.”
“I think he’s got very good football intelligence,” said Saints head coach Sean Payton. “Part of being a pressure guy from the back end is anticipation, snap count, and disguise. I think he’s an instinctive player, and you see that on tape. He’s got a high football IQ – I think that’s important.
“I think he’s got that toughness and that suddenness that you’d like at that position. I think he brings a physical dimension to the game he plays with. He’s been well-coached. They do a great job there defensively. There were a lot of things we liked about him.”
Vaccaro becomes the Longhorns' tenth Top 20 pick in just the last 10 years following Earl Thomas (14, Seattle Seahawks, 2010), Brian Orakpo (13, Washington Redskins, 2009), Michael Griffin (19, Tennessee Titans, 2007), Aaron Ross (20, New York Giants, 2007), Vince Young (3, Tennessee Titans, 2006), Michael Huff (7, Oakland Raiders, 2006), Cedric Benson (4, Chicago Bears, 2005), Derrick Johnson (15, Kansas City Chiefs, 2005), and Roy Williams (7, Detroit Lions, 2004).
“Kenny Vaccaro is one of the best football players we have ever had,” said Texas head coach Mack Brown. “He is tough, he’s smart, he’s a playmaker and he practiced like he was in a game everyday. He is very passionate about football. He brings leadership and he brings toughness. “
Mack Brown has now had at least one first-round selection in 12 of the last 18 drafts and a total of 20 first-round picks (16 Texas/four UNC) in the last 16 drafts.
Thirteen Texas DBs have now been selected in the last 12 years including Vaccaro, Aaron Williams (2011 – Buffalo Bills, second round), Curtis Brown (2011, Pittsburgh Steelers, third round), Chykie Brown (2011, Baltimore Ravens, fifth round), Thomas, Griffin, Ross, Tarell Brown (2007 - San Francisco 49ers, fifth round), Huff, Cedric Griffin (2006 - Minnesota Vikings, second round), Nathan Vasher (2004 - Chicago Bears, fourth round), Rod Babers (2003 - New York Giants, fourth round), and Quentin Jammer (2002 - San Diego Chargers, first round).
Vaccaro is the first Longhorn taken by the New Orleans Saints since Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams was selected with the fifth pick of the 1999 NFL Draft. The New Orleans Saints have now taken a total of five Texas Longhorns including Vaccaro. Former picks also include WR Jitter Fields (5th round in 1984), PK Russell Erxleben (1st round in 1979) and T Bob Simmons (3rd round in 1976).
Vaccaro, from Brownwood, Texas, led the team with a career-high 107 tackles (60 solo) in 2012. He also tallied four tackles for loss, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, four quarterback hurries and five pass break ups. He was voted 2012 team captain (along with DE Alex Okafor) at the end of the season by his teammates.
Vaccaro was selected as a first-team All-American by Pro Football Weekly in 2012. He was was also tabbed first-team 2012 All-Big 12 by the league’s coaches for the second season in a row and was named second-team AP All-Big 12 by a panel of sportswriters who cover the league. Vaccaro was selected first-team AP All-Big 12 in 2011.
Vaccaro has appeared in 51 career games with 32 starts where he posted 264 tackles (162 solo), 2 sacks, 16 TFL, five interceptions, 21 pass break ups, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 11 quarterback pressures. Vaccaro has six career double-digit tackle games and was named to the 2012 Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award and Thorpe Award watch lists. He was tabbed 2012 preseason first-team All-Big 12 by Athlon, Phil Steele and Lindy's magazines, was chosen to the All-Big 12 first team (coaches), second team (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) and honorable mention (AP) in 2011 and was honorable mention for Defensive Player of the Year (coaches) that same season.