Should Cowboys get safety in the first round?

BY foxsports • February 20, 2013

The Dallas Cowboys haven't drafted a safety in the first round since 2002 when they made Roy Williams the eighth overall selection. Safety is a position of need on this current Cowboys roster. Could they choose one with the 18th overall pick in April?

It's possible. And if they do, the player to watch for is former Texas Longhorn Kenny Vaccaro.

NFL draft expert Mike Mayock had a lot to say about the 6-1, 220-pounder on Monday during a draft-related conference call.

"Vaccaro is the one that more tape I watched, the more I liked him," the NFL Network analyst said. "They played him closer to the line of scrimmage this year. He covered a bunch of slots this year. Watching (him) cover Tavon Austin at West Virginia, that's rare. In today's world, that's rare and it's important.

"And I think his coverage ability is quick feet. He's tough as nails. He tackles. He looks to me, I've never met him, but it looks on tape like he loves the game. I have trouble thinking he's going to get past 15 or 20 even though safeties don't go that high. I think he'll be gone in the first 15 picks."

If that's the scenario and the Cowboys are still looking for a safety later in the draft, Mayock said Florida's Matt Elam should go late in the first round to middle of the second. Florida International's Jonathan Cyprien is projected to go a little after that.

According to Mayock, the next group of safeties, who should go around the Round 3, includes LSU's Eric Reid, Notre Dame's Zeke Motta, Fresno State's Phillip Thomas, Georgia Southern's J.J. Wilcox and Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson.

"He's a really talented kid," Mayock said of Jefferson. "I really like him on tape. What I don't like is how many tackles he misses. And I think I put the West Virginia tape on, and he must have missed 7, 8, 9 tackles against West Virginia.

"He's talented, he's got straight line speed, he flashes ball skills. But I think he's probably going to go in the middle to late third rounds, and he probably should be a better player than that. But he's just got to be more consistent, especially with his tackling. I think he can play either safety by the way, strong or free."

Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota

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