In what has been a dismal year for the safety market, another big name players has finally come off the board. Safety Kenny Vaccaro has signed with the Tennessee Titans. The 27-year-old played his first five seasons with the New Orleans Saints. Terms of the contract have not yet been released. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first had the news.
Sources: The #Titans are filling their safety void by signing former #Saints FA Kenny Vaccaro. A big addition in August following S Johnathan Cyprien being placed on Injured Reserve. Vaccaro was impressive in the workout, helping him be the choice over several others.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 4, 2018
Tennessee Titans Sign Kenny Vaccaro
Drafted 15th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft out of Texas, Vaccaro was brought to New Orleans to help revive a Saints defense that put forth the worst defense in league history in 2012. His supreme athleticism and ability to assist in pass-rushing situations was sure to give him a competitive advantage over veteran Roman Harper.
The rookie made an immediate impact, most notably in Week One versus the archrival Atlanta Falcons when he deflected a touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez late in regulation. Vaccaro’s 79 tackles, eight passes defended, one sack, one interception, and one forced fumble earned him a spot on Last Word On Sports’ inaugural Pro Bowl Snub list. Helping guide the Saints to fourth place in total defense for the 2013 season, it appeared that the selection of the All-American defensive back was a home run, despite his year one being truncated due to injuries.
The subsequent four campaigns, however, proved to be highly erratic. In 2014, his erroneous play led to a dip in his production as he was ranked the third-worst safety by popular analytics site Pro Football Focus. The sophomore slump was even the catalyst for rumors of him being benched, although they were denied by head coach Sean Payton.
Playing all 16 games in 2015, Vaccaro rebounded with career highs in tackles (104) and sacks (three) along with five pass deflections and a forced fumble. Though the Saints picked up his fifth-year option ahead of the 2016 season, it was headlined by a looming four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Dropping his appeal that December, Vaccaro was held out the remainder of the year.
Being the culprit in blown coverages and the subject of trade rumors early last season, Vaccaro’s tenure in New Orleans was seemingly at a crossroads. The veteran even lost playing time to rookie standout Marcus Williams and second-year contributor Vonn Bell. One of the few glaring positives from the former Longhorn was his personal best three interceptions. The acquisition of free agent Kurt Coleman—who ironically is another former LWOS Pro Bowl snub–officially sealed Vaccaro’s fate with the Saints.
Even with the blatant physical gifts and occasional timely plays, Vaccaro never fully realized his first-round potential, leaving Saints fans disappointed. Injuries had a significant role, but the safety’s overall productivity was underwhelming. With a change of scenery, the veteran will have the opportunity to remodel his career.
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