Vaccaro third in defensive rookie vote


New Orleans Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro finished third in the Associated Press’ voting for the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Vaccaro received four of a possible 50 votes -- which made him a distant third behind New York Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (23 votes) and Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso (19 votes). Still, that’s not too shabby for the 15th pick in the draft.

Vaccaro was a full-time starter beginning in Week 1, and he played a versatile role in new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s defense -- a combination of coverage against slot receivers, coverage against tight ends, some deep safety, some linebacker and some blitzing. Many compared the way he was used to the way the Pittsburgh Steelers use star Troy Polamalu.

Vaccaro finished the year with 79 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and one sack before going down with a season-ending fractured ankle in Week 16.

Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu -- a former LSU standout and New Orleans product -- received two votes. Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei also received two votes.