With the 15th pick in Pride Of Detroit's 2013 NFL mock draft, the New Orleans Saints select Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro. Lead Hunter is serving as the Saints' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
The New Orleans Saints have a few needs to address in the draft. Those would be OT, DE, OLB and safety. I came up with this list based on conversation with Canal Street Chronicles, the SB Nation website for the Saints, and Draft Tek. In speaking with CSC, the biggest need is at OT due to losing Jermon Bushrod to the Bears. With the three best OT off the board, there was no OT left worthy of pick No. 15.
Keeping in mind that the Saints hired Rob Ryan as the new defensive coordinator and he is changing from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense, I had to determine which of the other three positions was of most need. The Saints defense ranked last or next to last in every category, so they could use help just about anywhere on defense. That didn't narrow it down, however, because there is no DE worthy of pick No. 15. I can rule that position out. Looking at OLB and safety, I have two players that stand out: OLB Barkevious Mingo from LSU and safety Kenny Vaccaro from Texas.
I was leaning heavily toward taking Mingo based on the thought of an improving pass rush indirectly helping the defensive backfield. His claim to fame is his pass-rushing ability. The more research I did, the less I liked Mingo for the pick. In WalterFootball.com's scouting report, they talk about how Mingo was a non-factor in the Alabama game against D.J. Fluker, a RT who struggled all year in pass protection, as well as other games Mingo struggled in. I also did not like that he is not a great run defender.
The research I did on Vaccaro turned up more positives than negatives. Per Walter Football, he plays both safety positions, plays the run well, has coverage ability against TEs and slot receivers and has great instincts, to name a few positives. Some negatives would be rarely lining up deep, lacking elite speed and not being a physical enforcer.
The Saints have two solid Safeties in Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins. Harper is the better of the two, being selected to two Pro Bowls, but he is creeping up in age. The feeling I get from the comments on CSC is that Jenkins is underachieving and the depth at safety is not good.
With all this info, I selected the 6'0", 214-pound FS/SS Kenny Vaccaro. The Saints only have the 15th pick in the first two rounds due to the bounty scandal, and Vaccaro is the best pick for value at this point with who is left on the board. The finding of an OT or an OLB will have to wait until the third round, but the safety position is upgraded with Vaccaro being picked.
Check out the 2013 Pride Of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.