Futures: Texas FS Kenny Vaccaro

This week’s Futures article at Football Outsiders analysis the next in a line of NFL-caliber free safety prospects from the University of Texas. Photo by Wonggawei/

Studying football players is a solitary pursuit. So it feels good when a performance catches your attention and months later you learn that it did the same for another writer, scout, or talent evaluator. Everyone enjoys that kind of validation.

One of those moments occurred last spring when I was watching Keenan Allen. As fun as it was to watch the Cal receiver, I couldn’t keep my eyes off Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro.

The free safety didn’t have an incredible game, but his potential leaped off the screen -– and in one case, over running back Iso Sofele (see below) -– as a versatile prospect capable of starting at either safety position as well as being a force on special teams. According to Orangebloods.com writer Chip Brown, it was this Cal game that had an NFL scout tell him that Vaccaro would have been “the best Longhorn in the [2012 NFL Draft] … He might have been a first-rounder with the way he can cover and the way he defends the run.”

Vacarro might be the most impressive defender on an underachieving Longhorns defensive unit. Six defensive backs from Texas have earned top-50 selections in the NFL Draft, Vaccaro is likely to become the seventh in 2013. There’s a lot to like about his game.

Although his edge sometimes crosses the line to recklessness, I love Vaccaro’s ability to play with abandon. Once he improves . . . Read the rest at Football Outsiders

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