Vaccaro stars at UT pro day despite injury

March, 26, 2013
3/26/13
6:50
PM ET
Perhaps the biggest name in attendance at Texas’ pro day on Tuesday aside from Vince Young was Texas’ All-American safety Kenny Vaccaro.

The lone defensive back working out, Vaccaro surprised NFL scouts with his weight of 217 pounds. But he did so in a good way.

Take what he gathered from Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who was the only NFL head coach in attendance.

“He thought I looked great,” said Vaccaro, who checked in at 6-foot. “Mainly that I pushed through everything and said I carried my weight well. He didn’t know I weighed 217.”

Vaccaro was a little disappointed that he wasn’t able to run the 40-yard dash because of a hip flexor injury, but was able to participate in individual drills in front of Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

“I think I was explosive out of my breaks,” he said. “I was real happy with how my hip held up. I think I did a good job.

“[The scouts] said I did a great job. They said the most impressive thing was just pushing through, working out by myself and also having that hip flexor.”

Vaccaro injured the hip while working out and re-injured it during an individual workout for the Cowboys last week.

“I tweaked it the last day of training,” Vaccaro said. “I worked out for the Cowboys and tried to push through it. But I stopped and rested up for pro day because I know those drills matter most.”

Most ESPN draft experts peg Vaccaro as a mid-first round draft pick. Todd McShay has him going No. 13 overall to Tampa Bay while Mel Kiper Jr. has him going No. 16 to the Bengals in their latest mock drafts.

He doesn’t care where he’s taken just as long as he is the first safety.

“I want to be the first safety taken,” said Vaccaro, who led Texas with 107 tackles in 2012. “I don’t care if it is the first or second round. I just want to be first.”

Longhorns head coach Mack Brown thinks he has that ability.

“Kenny is tough. He’s like an Earl Thomas, a Michael Griffin,” Brown said. “That’s what the coaches were asking today. We’ve had so many great defensive backs that have played in the NFL. It’s easy to compare Kenny to the great one’s we’ve had because he plays with passion everyday.”

There have been whispers of Vaccaro possibly ending up with Dallas. While he stated that he’d be happy to go anywhere, playing in his home state would be an added bonus.

“It would be nice. I’m from Texas,” Vaccaro said. “I played for the best university in Texas. To play for America’s team would be great. I just want the opportunity to play for any organization.

“I’m fired up to go anywhere. This has been a dream my whole life. Wherever I go I’ll go.”

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