- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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In advance of attending the NFL combine in Indianapolis later this month, ESPNBoston.com has identified 10 prospects it wants to learn more about. Along those lines, Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. is helping provide background and insight from his time studying tape and attending all-star games such as the Senior Bowl.
Player: Kenny Vaccaro
Height/weight: 6-foot-0, 210 pounds
Why he's on the radar: The Patriots could solidify their questions at safety with one decisive pick.
Projection: Top half of first round
Muench's take: "The Patriots will more than likely need to trade to get Vaccaro, who is the sixth overall prospect on our board. It’s his versatility, and more specifically his cover skills, that set him apart from of the rest of the class. In addition to the range he shows in deep coverage, Vaccaro is quick and fluid enough to match up with slot receivers, and big and long enough to match up with tight ends. It’s not a matter of projecting his skill set to the next level either. Vaccaro lined up over the slot, in the box, and deep in the Longhorns’ scheme, so he’s already shown he can play these different roles. Though he’s not a ball hawk at this point, he has the instincts and ball skills to develop into a playmaker. In terms of run support, he can get caught trying to deliver a kill shot and miss, plus his angles are a touch inconsistent. However, he’s tough enough to line up in the box, he covers a lot of ground when he lines up deep, and he can make one-on-one plays in space when he breaks down. He’s had a couple off-the-field incidents but the truth is there is nothing serious enough to scare teams way from his talent and there’s plenty to like about his 'football character.' The 2012 team captain has the respect of teammates and coaches."
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