Kristian@wwl.com - I can think of a lot of reasons the Saints could have selected a pass rusher with the 15th overall selection in round 1. I can think of a lot more reasons as to why they did the right thing by taking Vaccaro.
The Saints passing defense was much maligned last year. What do they do in the offseason? Sign Kennan Lewis in free agency, and draft Vaccaro. So much has been made about the production from the Safety position for the Saints. The selection of Vaccaro tells me two things. Safety Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins are on notice. Harper and Jenkins have a total of 5 passes defensed in the post-season from 2009 to 2012. By comparison, Scott Shanle has four, Jonathan Vilma has three, and Jabari Greer has 10.
After listening to Coach Sean Payton, it sounds like the Saints plan on using Vaccaro in the “nickel” package a lot. “He’s a guy we felt comfortable with and have a good vision for, and what his skill set is,” explained Payton.
One of the hallmarks of a Sean Payton roster is competition at every position. “Look, we’re going to have competition at both safety spots; we’re going to have completion at the nickel position. This is a good young player we’ll add to our defense and we’ll see what happens.”
The selection of Vaccaro also tells me they like their current collection of pass rushers. Junior Galette, Martez Wilson, and Victor Bulter are “unproven” as outside linebackers, but the three have a lot of upside. I would expect New Orleans to add another pass rusher to the mix at some point over the next two days, and I would also expect them to add another defensive back to the mix. The Saints don’t have a second round pick and don’t pick again until the 75th overall selection.