Kenny Vaccaro: The Swagger

April 12, 2013

Top-tier safeties in today’s NFL must possess the cover skills of a cornerback along with the instincts and explosiveness of a linebacker.

Kenny Vaccaro is the consensus top-ranked safety prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft. The former Texas Longhorn is an explosive open-field tackler with the ability to stick with speedy slot receivers when pressed into man coverage.

Nobody is confusing Vaccaro with the next Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu, the two future Hall-of-Fame safeties who set the benchmark for playing the position over the last 10 years. At least not yet.

Kenny Vaccaro Path to the Pros.

Safety Kenny Vaccaro is a run-stopping force.

Then again, the safety’s role on the field has drastically changed with the advent of the pass-heavy, multiple wide receiver packages that make up the majority of NFL offenses. Not to mention the emergence of super-athletic tight ends in recent years.

And that’s good news for Vaccaro, a dynamic defender who by his own admission “brings a lot to the table in terms of versatility and leadership on and off the field."

Watching Vaccaro’s pre-draft training, it’s clear that he’s ready to step into numerous roles on defense.

The morning movement sessions at Velocity Sports Performance in Irvine, Calif., helped Vaccaro enhance his top-end speed. His 4.63-second 40-Yard Dash time at the NFL Combine didn’t blow scouts away, but he proved his capability to keep up with downfield speed receivers as a safety at the next level.

On the field during position-specific drilling, Vaccaro displayed exceptional change of direction skills and an explosive step that was reminiscent of a former Velocity pre-draft trainee, Von Miller, who became the second overall pick of the 2011 Draft.

Most impressive was the showing of upper-body power during the afternoon strength session, in which the 6’0”, 216-pound Vaccaro completed a 375-pound Bench Press for three sets of three reps. All of this after he completed 16 reps on his practice run for the 225-Bench Test.

There is a certain poise required to play safety in the NFL, somewhere between the swagger of the game’s top cornerbacks and the intensity of the leading linebackers.

That poise is something that’s already ingrained in Vaccaro.

“My goal is to go first round,” Vaccaro says. “Coming out of Texas, that’s the standard for DBs. We call it ‘DBU’—Defensive Back University—because we’ve had so many great DBs come out of that university and excel in the NFL. And that’s my goal, to join a long line of legends.”

Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
Must See
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 5,073,746
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 20,441,327
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 6,036,397

Featured Videos

Abby Wambach's Med Ball Core Workout Views: 187,099
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 12,178
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 5: Fundamentals Training Views: 220,234
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,842
Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose
Views: 3,539,378
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,865,919
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,798,784
Johny Hendricks Workout Overview
Views: 822,554

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Meet Tomorrow

Get Pumped: Aaron Bradley Is Running Down His Dream

WATCH: The Toughest 5 Days In High School Girls

NFL Draft Prospects Get Pumped With the Reebok ZPUMP Fusion

Athletes Join the Cause for National Bullying Prevention Month

How Skylar Diggins Became the Future of the WNBA

4 Stories of Baseball Perseverance With New Balance Unlaced

Amazing 6-Year-Old Surfer Girl Will Brighten Your Day

Featured STACKlete: Keyla Oliveras

15 Things You Need to Know About Antonio Brown

How Marcus Mariota Got Ready for the NFL Draft

Get Pumped: Cam McDaniel Is Poised to Become an Impact Player

WATCH: The Touchdown of the Year

SURVIVING SEALFIT: The Question That Tells You If You'll Succeed

Patrick Willis Announces His Retirement, Fulfills His Legacy

What the World Cup Means to Abby Wambach

Colin Kaepernick: A Determined Man

Labor of Love: Kevin Love's Lifelong Drive for a Championship

James Harden's Journey From Sixth Man to Franchise Player

13 Things to Love About Steph Curry

Featured STACKlete: Brandon Petty