Kenny Vaccaro highlights Saints' 2013 draft class
With Sean Payton back and Bounty Gate officially in the rearview mirror, the Saints began their quest for resurgence last Thursday night in the NFL draft.
With their only pick of the first two rounds, they selected Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro with the 15th overall selection.
Vaccaro is a 6-foot, 214-pounder who played four years with the Longhorns. In his junior year, he had 92 tackles and two interceptions and this past season, he finished with 67 tackles and two picks.
The major strength of his game in college was his presence in run support--which could pay dividends for the Saints--who finished dead-last in run defense last season. They gave up a ridiculous 148 yards rushing per game.
However, Payton is hoping Vaccaro can show his versatility as a safety and help out in coverage as well. The Saints were nearly dead-last against the pass as well--giving up 293 yards per game.
Being paired up with Malcolm Jenkins, the Saints are hoping they've created themselves a formidable safety combo for the future with their pick of Vaccaro.
Because of Bounty Gate, New Orleans had no second-round pick. In the third round, they acquired tackle Terron Armstead of Arkansas-Pine Bluff with the 75th overall selection.
Armstead is an athletic 6-foot-4, 306-pounder that will be counted on to keep Drew Brees upright for many years to come. Brees was sacked 26 times last season.
With their second third-round pick, the Saints went back to addressing their porous defense with the selection of Georgia defensive tackle John Jenkins.
Jenkins is a massive 6-foot-5, 346-pounder that didn't show much production at Georgia when it came to sacks, but he thrived at disrupting things in the middle and constantly taking on multiple blockers.
With new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's new 3-4 defensive look, Jenkins looks to be the prototypical space-eating nose-tackle.
But as much as the Saints need defensive help, an offensive wizard like Payton just couldn't go an entire draft without getting himself a toy.
In the fifth round, New Orleans picked Oklahoma wide receiver Kenny Stills with the 144th overall selection.
Stills is only a 6-foot, 194-pounder but has great speed. This past season, he made 82 grabs for 959 yards and 11 touchdowns as the Sooners made a run to the Cotton Bowl.
And with the Saints' final pick of the draft, they selected Rufus Johnson from Tarleton State.
Johnson is a 6-foot-5, 266-pound defensive end that New Orleans is hoping can help with a pass rush that struggled mightily last season. He had 10 sacks last year at Tarleton. The Saints only had 30 total team sacks all of last season.
Johnson and the rest of New Orleans' newest draftees will get their first taste of the NFL life on May 10 for the team's rookie minicamp.