Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
I agree with Todd McShay on something. I'm doomed. In his latest mock draft (insider only), he has the Bucs picking Kenny Vaccaro in the first round. Vaccaro is one of my favorite players in the draft: fast, physical and explosive. Here's what McShay had to say about the selecton.
The Bucs' secondary is an absolute mess with the exception of Mark Barron. So although spending first-round picks on safeties in back-to-back drafts might not be ideal, Vaccaro makes a lot of sense. I expect him to improve his 40 time at Texas' pro day, and the rest of his combine results were near or atop the list for safeties. More important, Vaccaro's tape is excellent. Vaccaro is clearly the most complete safety in the 2013 class, and his ability to match up against pass-catching TEs in the slot, as well as to handle deep-third responsibilities in zone coverage, would give this Bucs secondary some much-needed flexibility.
Of course, that description doesn't much sound like the kind of player who will complement Mark Barron. Last year's first-round pick is best in an in-the-box role, covering tight ends in the slot and playing the run. The Buccaneers need a free safety who can play deep to complement Barron's skills, and McShay doesn't make him sound like someone who can do that.
That, to me, should be the Bucs' deciding factor in potentially drafting a safety: does he have the range, speed and instincts to consistently play as a single high safety? I can't answer that question on Vaccaro, because TV footage simply doesn't show the deep part of the field often enough. But it's a critical question, and the answer to that question will determine whether Vaccaro will be the team's pick.
Another factor that cannot be overlooked is Ronde Barber, who played the free safety last season. Although he moved into the box more and more as the season progressed, even turning into the team's nickelback when Eric Wright was suspended, his return would at least give the Bucs a free safety -- and drafting Vaccaro then may be a little harder to justify.