Currently projected as a mid-first round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, former Texas Longhorns safety Kenny Vaccaro didn't do himself any favors when he turned in an official 4.63 40-yard dash on Tuesday at the NFL Combine.
However, the Brownwood product known for his hard hits and abundance of tattoos likely didn't hurt himself much either, if NFL Network analysts like Greg Cosell and Deion Sanders are to be believed. An NFL.com writer suggested that Vaccaro's time is unlikely to hurt his draft stock because straight-line speed isn't as important for safeties as it is for cornerbacks.
And the time wasn't nearly as disappointing as the 4.75 40 turned in by former Oklahoma hybrid safety/linebacker Tony Jefferson, who most likely did hurt his draft stock with his sluggish effort.
Vaccaro will also have another opportunity to run at the upcoming Texas Pro Day in an effort to post a better time and solidify a position in the top half of the first round -- Vaccaro wasn't expected to crack the 4.5 barrier, but his game speed suggests that he could certainly run in the low 4.5s with a strong effort.
That game speed is what kept Cosell and Sanders from openly worrying about whether Vaccaro can maintain his ability in coverage in the NFL, a large part of what separated him from other safety prospects throughout the early pre-draft process.
What Vaccaro has put on tape in that regard has been especially impressive -- he held Tavon Austin to just over 10 yards per catch against West Virginia last fall and Austin was one of the most dynamic playmakers in the country, not to mention one of the fastest players at the Combine after an official time of 4.34. Other than a 40-yard play, Austin registered an average of only six yards on the rest of his touches.
Keep in mind that Austin is a player who picked up more yards from scrimmage in the game against Oklahoma than Marquise Goodwin did all season. Yikes.
In 2011, Vaccaro locked down Ryan Swope, holding the speedy A&M star to less than 40 yards on three catches and made the leaping interception on a ball that was intended for the Westlake product that was one of Vaccaro's 2011 highlights and a top play from the final conference game of the aged rivalry.
An official time for Vaccaro over 4.6? Disappointing, but not an effort that can or will likely supersede his excellent work on film.
There's also a chance that KDVII could end up sticking around in Texas for his NFL career. The Cowboys need a safety and could take him with the 18th pick in the Draft if he impresses at a pre-draft interview.