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Texas Safety Kenny Vaccaro Fits the New York Giants’ Draft Approach

February 19th, 2013 at 10:30 AM
By Kyle Langan

The New York Giants are considered a successful drafting team under General Manager Jerry Reese. Twice in his first five seasons as general manager the team won a championship with major contributions from rookies.

First-round selections Hakeem Nicks and Jason Pierre-Paul have worked out particularly well. Reese earned extra points on his draft acumen score with his selections of the aforementioned two.

In 2009, the draft boasted one of the best wide receiver classes in years, with Kenny Britt, Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree, and Darius Heyward-Bey all going in the first round along with Nicks. Reese stayed put at the 29th spot and took his man in Nicks and ended up with arguably the best of the bunch.

In 2010, Jason Pierre-Paul was considered a raw prospect who would not be considered an immediate contributor, but had the potential to be a perennial pro bowler. Defensive end was not considered a position of need for New York at the time, but Reese went against the grain and got himself a phenomenal player.

The Giants do not draft entirely based on talent or entirely based on need, but there are some positions in the modern NFL that carry a bit more value than others. Pass rushers and dynamic wide receivers are two of those positions. Play-makers on the back end are another.

Three times under Jerry Reese the Giants have taken a defensive back in the first round: 2007 (Aaron Ross), 2008 (Kenny Phillips) and most recently 2011 (Prince Amukamara). Despite the continued investment in the area, the Giants need help on the back end. They gave up more plays of 20 or more yards than any other team in football in 2012.

At this junction we know several key things:

  1. Talent and depth on the back end of a defense are vital in the modern landscape of the NFL.
  2. The Giants have not been adverse to taking secondary players high.
  3. The Giants need help in the secondary.
  4. Jerry Reese likes to seek out players who fit all of the teams criteria and also possess great talent (potentially)

These criteria have led us to believe that University of Texas Safety Kenny Vaccaro (6'1", 218 lbs) is a top candidate to be selected by the Giants in the first round come April.

Vaccaro is the top ranked safety in the current draft class and most projections have him being taken in the back half of the first round. 

At Texas Vaccaro had the type of college career arc you look for in a potential star in the NFL. He red-shirted his first season at Texas, but then posted 56 tackles his first year as a starter after he was charged with the task of replacing Earl Thomas. In his junior year Vaccaro peaked, notching 82 tackles, 8 tackles for a loss, and 5 turnovers forced. Vaccaro likes to play bigger than his size indicates. He excels at playing around the line of scrimmage and has the flexibility to play the slot corner position.

Consider what the Giants sport at the safety position currently.

Stevie Brown and Antrel Rolle are both safeties that like to be around the football, while Rolle in particular has the flexibility to play the slot position. Behind Rolle and Brown the Giants have a free agent in Kenny Phillips and third-year man Tyler Sash who has played little on defense in his first two years.

Will Hill is another body that the Giants currently sport in their secondary. He has the size to match up with players out of the slot, but is a natural safety. The Giants tried to match him up against bigger tight ends likes Tony Gonzalez, but to no avail.

While Hill making the team and contributing was a good story in 2012, he can not be relied to to be a consistent contributing safety moving forward (although not everyone at Giants 101 agrees with that).

At the corner position, only Jayron Hosley has the build of someone who can play the slot position. Even at that, he is a bit under- sized (5'10", 178 lbs) and has a tough time matching up against the bigger receivers (see: Miles Austin). Amukamara, Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas comprise a potentially good group of defenders on the outside, but there are question marks all over the place in the secondary.

This lack of certainty on the back end for the Giants presents an opportunity for an immediate contributor.

Kenny Vaccaro fits the exact mold of players already present in the Giants system (Rolle), provides immediate depth at a premium position (safety/slot), and would certainly be among the most talented players available at the 19th slot in the draft (also the best at his position). 

With Vaccaro, need meets philosophy meets talent.


Tags: Aaron Ross, Antrel Rolle, Corey Webster, Football, Hakeem Nicks, Jason Pierre-Paul, Kenny Phillips, Kenny Vaccaro, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Prince Amukamara, Stevie Brown, Terrell Thomas, Tyler Sash

29 Responses to “Texas Safety Kenny Vaccaro Fits the New York Giants’ Draft Approach”

  1.  Hanshi says:

    So many of the guys on here that insist that Reese drafts BPA are now saying that they’ll be pi$$ed if we draft a TE and are talking about positions of NEED. I’ve always said, since the early days of G101 that we factor NEED into BPA.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I think BPA has been largely false. We take BPA largely based on need. The only pick that really seemed like a luxury was JPP. But in hindsight we had serious questions about Kiwi’s health at the time time and we need a quality 3rd DE behind Osi and Tuck. I think we draft need as much as anyone but we won’t reach for a player.

      That being said I don’t see a first round TE as BPA or a great need even without Bennett.

  2.  BigBlueGiant says:


    BigBlueGiant says:
    February 19, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Well, i for one will pass on both Ertz and this guy at 19. I think their both good, but we have other needs.

    We will be drafting Defense. D-line or CB or if some how Kenny Vaccaro slips to us like Prince did i can’t see Reese passing him by. But that’s doubtful he gets out of the top 15.

    I still say we go DE to find our replacement for Osi. Oh wait, i forgot we have them already in Tracy and Ojomo!!!!!! Silly me. LOL.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      We do still have Tuck and Kiwi along with 2 DEs even you agreed could be answers in a 3rd DE type of role. One of Tuck or Kiwi at least will be around next year so DE isn’t pressing at all IMO.

    •  rlhjr says:

      DE’s, and Safeties running out the ying yang. Vaccaro is a nice player, but the need area is defensive tackle, and MIKE followed by corner back. IMHO

      With the cap still looming, don’t look for much in the way of elite help from outside the current roster or the draft. It’s a money thing. And it’s also about letting the players you are paying perform. It’s that crazy value thing. You know, what the Giants are known for???? Also, based on the Giants MO, what makes anyone think a first year (fill in the blank) is going to get real PT?

      And as far as drafting defense is concerned, that is only if the young offensive linemen are deemed ready to play by the staff. If not, you can assign offensive line to one of the first three picks. And of course, the Giants do not value linebacker enough to use a first (or even second it seems) day pick on one.

      That accounts for Sintim and now Tracy being on the roster. Although I thought Sintim was a 3rd rounder. I know his talent was wasted on a 43 defense. Tracy played both positions in school.
      He sometimes rushed the passer from the outside backer spot. And he sometimes dropped into coverage from the hand down defensive end spot. He’s a very smart and versatile player.

      I’ll say again, those thinking either Tracy or Ojomo are scrubs, just keep watching. These kids will be part of a rotation. They will enhance whatever is left of Tuck and play in his place when he starts mulling over the questions of world peace and global warming. They will give JPP and Kiwi much needed rest.

      It is solely my opinion and I stand by it 100 percent. If some among you think those two are scrubs, I won’t call you crazy (I’ll give you that much basic respect) but I will strongly suggest that you think again…….for real.

      •  CT GIANT says:

        YOU AGAIN! Ha, lol, well we agree! I see a 6’4 270lbs of Ojomo, who’s motor is a V-8 400hp, never needs a break, but your correct, both Ojomo & Tracy have been “held up” behind a weak Tuck, now departed Boley, I see them in serious competition in OTA’s and camp.
        Now there’s two, who think, “think again”, really!
        CT GIANT

  3.  BigBlueGiant says:

    Vaccaro would be an excellent fit for us. But I don’t see him getting past 15th pick.

    it’s been projected that he goes to Miami. Who I also think might end up with KP as well. That said, if he slips the way Prince did, we should draft him.

    • I envision Miami going offense. Got their ab last year, had no weapons, offensive coach. May lose Long.

      Lot of signs point to offense.

      The Rams and Cowboys are candidates to take him, but if Dallas passes on the DT out of Missouri i would gladly take him.

      •  BigBlueGiant says:

        They’re gonna re-sign Long and sign a FA WR. for their offense. They’ll lose Reggie Bush, but Lamar Miller/ Dtrain will take over the load at RB. They do need a Safety desperately. Which is also why i see KP signing with them. Playing for the team he grew up cheering for.

        Most mocks i’ve read, have Vaccaro in the top 15. Which is don’t disagree that he falls there. Walter Football has him going to the Panthers right now at 14.

        If he slips, he’ll be too good to pass up.

        •  GOAT56 says:

          Miami is likely not going to re-sign Long. His injuries have some fearing his career is turning into a Tony Boselli type ending. They draft a young tackle they played reasonably well in his absence last year.

  4.  UANYG says:

    I just don’t Safety or TE happening.

    Hanshi is right, it’s a weighted framework. It’s no different from a sales company using business intelligence to better inform its decisions.

    I’d take it a step further than just need. There are probably weights assigned based on likelihood of leaving after 5-years and range of 2nd contracts for players at that position. There’s a level of analytics that we’re just not privy to that Reese and 31 other GM’s employ.

    If a RD 1 pick is spent on secondary, it will be on corner, per FF55. We’ve got capable safeties to replace Phillips, who are young, and who won’t demand the type of dollars a RD 1 pick will. I personally see DL or OL, but I think a high pick will be spent on CB as well.

  5. I dont mind if he isn’t there. I would gladly take DJ Fluker and run. He can start right tackle immediately.

  6.  GOAT56 says:

    So we draft safety with glaring holes at CB, DT and LB? I don’t see it at all unless we tender Brown the lowest tender and he signs elsewhere. While Brown and/or Hill might not be the answers for replacing KP they have shown enough to be given a real shot. Our safety position is still in good shape without KP. There’s a fair chance a early drafted safety barely gets on the field because they can’t beat out Brown or Hill. Our roster can’t afford luxuries in the first round this year.

    •  UANYG says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with this.

      Safety is one of the few positions–aside from receiver, rb, TE presuming either Bennett is resigned, or Robinson is ready to go–where I’m satisfied with the depth we have.

      I just can’t rationalize it, unless Brown or Hill can be traded for a mid-pick, which I wouldn’t prefer. I think we’re good at safety, Phillips or no Phillips.

  7.  demo3356 says:

    Like this kid but don’t see anyway a Safety is drafted.. DT, CB, OT, LB, WR even DE are much bigger needs. I know JR always goes BPA but he weights position of need a little higher.. Unlike other years where we were able to fill positions of need through FA and stockpile talent through the draft, this year their are holes everywhere and the Giants haven’t even the caproom to keep their own guys..
    They will burn whatever money they can free up on Beatty, Bennett, Cruz and some other RFA’s ERFA’s. Then they will have to fill needs at DT, CB, LB and OL through the draft and with some vet minimums in FA

  8.  GOAT56 says:

    Ira Kaufman @IKaufmanTBO

    The arrest of Da’Quan Bowers certainly improves the bargaining leverage of Bucs DE Michael Bennett, a pending free agent.

    •  BigBlueGiant says:

      Unreal this guy.

      These idiots will never learn from their peers.

      He will 100% be getting jail time.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      So now the Bucs will overpay BOTH Bennett brothers. Good for the Bennetts, bad for the Giants. But I have held out little hope that Bennett stays anyway. I know he wants to be here, but money talks and Tampa Bay can offer more dollars, fewer taxes, and his brother.

  9.  kujo says:

    In 2006, then-recently retired Steelers running back Jerome Bettis firmly believed coach Bill Cowher would leave after the season. And Bettis was right.

    Seven years later, a letter-known member of the Giants thinks his head coach will be calling it quits after the coming season.

    Appearing earlier today on NFL Network, Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas said he believes Coughlin has one year left, via Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star-Ledger.

    “I think he has one more in him,” Thomas said. “We have a great nucleus of guys, and I don’t think he wants to give that up. That passion is still burning within him. He’s in that facility all day every day; he’s going crazy not being able to coach and watch film. He lives and breathes football. He has everybody in there all day, every day, in the offseason.”

    Coughlin, who turns 67 in August, has wisely avoided talking about his plans. Lame-duck coaches have a hard time creating full accountability in the locker room, since the players know that they’ll be answering to someone else next year. And so the departure needs to come suddenly, perhaps with a Bettis-style walk into the sunset.

    “I think he wants to go out on top,” Thomas said of Coughlin. “Hopefully, we can get it right, and bring a Super Bowl home in Giants Stadium.”

    It would be a fitting ending to a career that has featured a late run at Canton. Still, even without a Super Bowl win this year, the clock is ticking on Coughlin’s career.

    And when he calls it quits, that’s when Cowher could re-emerge. Bettis also has said that Cowher is waiting for the Giants job to come open.

  10.  jfunk says:

    Regarding the previous mention of Eli’s contract. I personally have no problem with it if the Giants renegotiate him every chance they get and turn his contract into a huge albatross that will hamstring the organization for a year or two when he eventually retires or his performance starts to falter.

    You can’t go out and get a franchise QB just because you know you need one. The opportunity has to present itself at just the right moment when you have the resources to make it happen. When you have one, you have to do everything possible to win while that guy is on your team. Worrying about the long term salary cap hit is still important for the first half of that guy’s career because you want to be able to remain competitive the whole time.

    As that player enters the home stretch though, I say forget worrying about the post-Eli era. Go ahead and mortgage the future to give the team the best opportunity as possible to grab another trophy or two. It may be a decade or more after Eli is gone before we are in position to get another talent like him at QB, go “all-in” now. If that means we go 2-14 for two years after he’s gone while his dead money eats up 25% of our cap, so be it.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      Great point!

    •  fanfor55years says:

      I agree with this, and it’s one of the reasons I have no issue with frequent restructurings for Eli or his eating a disproportionate percentage of the cap dollars. The only caveat is that teams have to be at least somewhat concerned about the resale market for PSLs, lest their strongest fans get resentful if they have to endure a decade of bad football while being unable to sell off their ticket rights even at a modest discount.

      There’s a crunch coming in big-time professional sports. We’ll see the Yankees suffering from fan rebellion over the next few years as the team declines but the seat prices don’t. I think the number of unsold “club” seats by the Jets shows that the economics at the higher end are getting tenuous, and will become much more so if tax reform finally ends or more severely limits the subsidies for business entertainment expenditures.

      It would be nice if you could smoothly transition from one franchise quarterback to another, but so far, at least, only the Packers have managed that. You need a lot of luck to pull that off.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        Indy took their Peyton cap hit last year and still won because they were luckily in the position to draft Luck.

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