Round 1, Pick 15
Size: 6-0, 214
Earned first-team All-America honors in 2012 from Pro Football Weekly and was an All-Big 12 pick the past two seasons in voting by the league’s coaches.
A versatile player, Vaccaro started games at free safety, strong safety, strongside linebacker and even middle linebacker in his four-year college career.
Saints coach Sean Payton: “He’s got that versatility to play not only safety, but to play down over the slot. You saw a lot of evidence of that. In fact, we had to go back and get more snaps of true safety film on him, rather than nickel film. He’s versatile enough to play either of the safety positions and certainly a guy that can handle some of the nickel.”
NFLDraftScout.com: “While the Longhorns’ talented defense struggled with consistency in 2012, Vaccaro shined with a career-high 107 tackles. … Fits the mold of a versatile safety with the physical nature to support the run, but also the athleticism to hold up in coverage and line up in the slot.”
Vaccaro’s uncle, A.J. Johnson, played seven years in the NFL and won Super Bowl XXVI with the Washington Redskins.
Round 3, Pick 75
Position: Offensive tackle
School: Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Size: 6-5, 304
A standout in football and track, Armstead was an FCS first-team All-American and three-time All-SWAC first-team pick as a left tackle.
Run. A combination of size, power and speed — yes speed — he opened eyes with solid workouts and showed off a 40 time of 4.71 seconds.
Saints coach Sean Payton: “That’s the position (left tackle) we see him at. He had the fastest 40 (by an offensive lineman) at the combine. He can run. He’s very athletic. He’s someone that’s very intelligent and has good length, but his athleticism is the thing if you measure the quickness and those things. I see that being the position we scouted him for, and probably most everyone else did as well.”
NFL Draft Report: “Armstead displayed very good explosion with his initial step, coming off the ball with good urgency on both run and pass plays. He is a solid walk-off drive blocker who moves with ease getting into the second level. He plays with natural strength and has shown marked improvement with his power base.”
Was an eight-time SWAC champion as a thrower in track and field. Capped his high-school career with an Illinois state shot put title.
Round 3, Pick 82
Position: Defensive tackle
Size: 6-4, 359
Former junior college star was a second-team All-SEC pick by Phil Steele and an All-American Dream Team selection by NFL Draft Report.
At almost 360 pounds, Jenkins can plug up the middle of the defensive line with his size and quickness with broad shoulders and large arms and hands.
Saints coach Sean Payton: “He lines up in the nose in a 3-4 front, and one of the things you see is real good initial quickness for a player of that size. You see real good ‘get-off.’ He’s light on his feet, he’s athletic, and sometimes that’s unusual for a player who is as big as he is and weighs as much as he does. Those are the redeeming qualities.”
NFL Draft Report: “With his big, strong hands, body mass and aggression, Jenkins excels at shutting down the interior running game. He can split double teams consistently with leverage. He is quick to recover and create a pile. He is almost always double-teamed, but once he sets his anchor is impossible to move out.”
Recorded some impressive numbers at the scouting combine, including 30 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press.
Kenny Stills Jr.
Round 4, Pick 144
Position: Wide receiver
Size: 6-0, 194
Came out of high school in California as a five-star recruit by Scout.com. Was a second-team All-Big 12 pick by league coaches the past two seasons.
Stretched the field with his speed, which he flashed in posting a 40 time of 4.38 seconds. Was a productive receiver with 204 catches and 24 TDs in three seasons.
Saints coach Sean Payton: “He runs exceptionally well, and he’s fluid. Kenny’s got a really good background with his body of work and with the way he plays. He’s fast and has been productive and played at a high level of competition. He can run, and he’s 6 feet and is lean. That’s the way he’s built.”
NFLDraftScout.com: “A natural athlete with experience in a diverse offense in which he lined up at multiple positions. He’s more physical and faster than he appears, but needs to play smarter and avoid team-killing mistakes caused by his competitiveness. Has good footwork in his routes and looks fluid in his breaks, helping him separate.”
Both his dad and uncle played in the NFL. Kenny Stills Sr. was a college teammate of Al Toon, the father of Saints wideout Nick Toon.
Rufus Johnson Jr.
Round 6, Pick 183
Position: Outside linebacker
School: Tarleton State
Size: 6-5, 270
A second-team Division II All-American who also was the Lone Star Conference’s Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2012 as an end in 2012.
Johnson is viewed as a solid pass rusher, which has the Saints projecting him as an outside linebacker because of his size and 4.69 speed in the 40.
Saints coach Sean Payton: “One of the things we try to do in the later rounds is the size, speed and measurables. He has the physical stature we’re looking for. We feel he can rush the passer pretty well and line up at the outside (linebacker) positions. It’s harder to take a small-school player and project how he’s going to do, but we saw signs with his pass rush.
“He’s someone who really started getting the attention of a lot of people. So we started going back and watching the tapes. The film is not as good at some of those schools. You have a hard time because they don’t always have the wide-angle or tight-angle shots.”
Johnson will be one of two former Tarleton players on the Saints’ roster as wide receiver Saalim Hakim also attended the Stephenville, Texas, school.