Sean Payton Talks About Drafting S Kenny Vaccaro
“We’re still working through the end of this first round. We are excited that we were able to get a player that we had kind of put in our cloud that we spent a lot of time on. You really don’t know how things will go in front of you. There were a few trades and you just want to be sure that you have someone that you felt like you’ve done your homework on and had a vision for. With Kenny, clearly he’s a guy that we felt comfortable with and have a good vision for what his skill set is.”
Q: Were the phones ringing with trade offers and possibilities?
A: “For us, no. It was pretty quiet. There wasn’t any discussion that I can recall with any teams.”
Q: Do you see him more as a strong safety or free safety?
A: “He has versatility. I think when you watch him play and you study game tape, he plays a lot of nickel because of the amount of spread offenses they saw in their league last year. There were a lot of snaps where he is down in the paint with two safeties behind him, covering down on the number two. One of the things that is attractive about this player is that he can do that and he’s got that versatility to play not only safety, but to play down over the slot. You saw a lot of evidence of that. In fact, we had to go back and get more snaps of true safety film on him, rather than nickel film. I think he’s versatile enough to play either one of the safety positions and certainly a guy that can handle some of the nickel.”
Q: Typically when you draft a guy in the first round, you’d like for him to come in and play right away. How does this affect the two starters (Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins) that have been there for a while?
A: “We see how it goes when he comes in. We say the same thing every year: we’re going to create competition with everyone in our camps. We felt like if he was available, we were getting an awfully good defensive football player to help our team. Now it will be up to him and us as coaches to get him up to speed along with everyone else. That kind of stuff will sort itself out. There will be a lot of competition, not just at safety.”
Q: Did he play a similar role, like when you interviewed Tracy Porter and Nnamdi Asomugha? Were you looking for a physical coverage guy?
A: “I think in Tracy’s case, he’s played some nickel before, but this is a different player. It is a little unique that you see him play a lot of nickel and you see him play against some really good receivers. Clearly, if you’re in just a two-safety defense and you want to drop him down in a slot formation without removing a linebacker, you can do that. If you want to use him against some of the substituted offensive sets, you can do that. That versatility is unique and something that I think is beneficial.”
Q: How can Roman Harper benefit from the switch to Rob Ryan’s defense?
A: “I’m not going to speculate; you guys can. I think that we’re going to have competition at both safety spots. We’re going to have competition at the nickel position. This is a good young football player that we’re going to add to our defense, and we’ll see what happens.”
Q: How many people did you have on your board when it came to the 15th pick?
A: “There were two, I won’t mention the other guy’s name. You look, and there are a handful of names that you graded very high, but those guys went early. Within that cloud, it got to where there were three picks with two names and so you clearly have to have a backup plan. Both two teams ahead of us took different players and so we were left with two guys that we were going to be real excited about.”
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