I've been done with the Malcolm Jenkins/Roman Harper back end experiment for a while and I've made no secret of this. I blame them as much as anyone for how pathetically horrible the Saints were on defense last year. Further, I blame those two players most specifically for the last two postseason exits. Of 88 qualifying graded safeties last year on Pro Football Focus, Harper was 87th and Jenkins was 88th. Yep, that's right, the Saints' starters ranked as the two absolute worst in the entire league last year. If that's not a good enough reason for change, then nothing will convince you.
I like the Kenny Vaccaro pick. When the Saints were on the board at 15 I was heartbroken by Star Lotulelei being picked by the Panthers with the pick before. I know there's some whacky reason why they picked before the Saints, but why are they doing that when they swept the Saints anyway and the teams had the same record? I am so bitter about that. But Star isn't a Saint so it's a moot point. At that point my board had Vaccaro at #3 behind DT Sharrif Floyd and LB Jarvis Jones. That said, you could argue safety is a bigger need, Floyd is more suited for a 4-3, AND we don't have access to Jones' medical files and the Saints may have ruled him out due to spinal health, or lack thereof. It's not like the Saints "blew it", and frankly the amount of negative feedback from fans about this pick is just silly.
Anyway, now that Vaccaro is the guy it's time to accept him as a Saint and start rooting for him. I believe his natural place is at strong safety where he can play around the line of scrimmage and be most effective. I think he's an upgrade over Roman Harper because he has much better ball tracking skills and coverage ability, while not giving up anything in the physicality and tackling department. Those that mention his speed being an issue, realize most NFL safeties don't have top end speed which is why they play safety to begin with. That's also why I feel he's a better fit at strong safety where he doesn't have to be the last line of defense.
It's time to move on from the Jenkins/Harper tandem. I think Jenkins should be moved back to corner to compete for a nickel spot, or he can play special teams. Roman Harper at his contract level won't be with the Saints past this year and I could see him cut prior to that. They just haven't lived up to their potential and now that Vaccaro is on board teamed up with the incredible promise Isa Abdul-Quddus showed us last year, it's time to play with a new starting pair at safety. Abdul-Quddus to me has the best ball skills and anticipation of all of them. Abdul-Quddus needs to work on his tackling and run support, big time, but at this point I'll take a playmaking safety that needs to refine his tackling (IAQ) over a tackler that will never learn instincts (Jenkins).
I don't think you can't blame Jenkins for the fact they moved him from CB to Safety. Malcom Jenkins still has serious skills and needs to be utilized correctly in this new defense. You talk about how bad the safeties were yet you failed to mention the poor play by the rest of the DBs and more importantly the entire defensive front! Our pass rush was nothing short of pathetic and thus constantly exposed the secondary to pressure. It was a train wreck from the begining but it starts with the front IMO. Vaccaro is a good pick up and was the best safety on the board, However the only reason we took him was because this draft is deeper at DE, LB and CB so we will have solid later round choices at those positions. I hope the Saints figure out some way to get a 2nd round pick and a few more late rounders. I personally think they should trade next years 1st round selection for a 2nd and two mid/late round picks in this years draft. Reason being that we can't afford to pay a first round player next season anyway due to the cap issues and we know the later round defensive talent is available in this draft. Infact as far as I am concerned we could trade the next 3 years of 1st round pick away and I think we'd be better off. Look at our track record with 1st rounders over the last few seasons and tell me any different. I also say we need somone other than Loomis making the picks on the Defensive side. He has a hell of track record with offensive players but is the complete opposite with D pick ups (in the draft). Don't bark about that either...its the truth, look at the numbers. Anyway, Vaccaro was a solid pick and you can't be upset that we grabbed a legitmate 1st round talent safety. Even though it wasn't the sexiest choice it made perfect sense.
@njsaintsfan I disagree on Jenkins having serious skill. If anything, after a few years in the league now, Malcolm has demonstrated that he kind of sucks.
Yes it looks great. Only thing that bothers me is all the picks the Saints did on secondary the last years. Not much good came from that. Jenkins back at CB makes sense. He DOES have the speed.