(NEW ORLEANS SAINTS) – New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis announced today that the club has signed four of their draft picks in advance of the start of the club’s rookie minicamp, slated to begin on Friday. They have signed their first round draft pick S Kenny Vaccaro, the first of their two third round picks, T Terron Armstead and their fifth- and sixth-round draft picks respectively in WR Kenny Stills and LB Rufus Johnson to four-year contracts.
Vaccaro, 22, was selected by the Saints in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft with the 15th overall pick out of the University of Texas. It marked the first time in franchise history the Saints have selected a safety in the first round. The 6-foot, 214-pound native of Brownwood, Texas, is a versatile defender, who played both safety positions as a collegian as well as in nickel packages, appearing in 51 games with 32 starts and registering 264 tackles (162 solo), two sacks, 16 stops for a loss, five interceptions, 21 passes defensed, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, two blocked kicks and 14 special teams stops. As a senior in 2012, he earned first-team All-American honors from Pro Football Weekly and was an All-Big 12 Conference first-team selection as he opened all 13 games at free safety and totaled a team-leading 107 tackles (60 solo), including four stops for a loss, two interceptions, five passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Armstead, 21, was selected by the Saints in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft with the 75th overall pick out of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The 6-foot-5, 304-pount native of Cahokia, Ill. appeared in 37 career games in college, starting his final 32 contests at left tackle. Armstead was invited to the Senior Bowl out of the FCS ranks and also ran the fastest 40-yard dash time (4.71) by an offensive lineman in the history of the NFL Scouting Combine. As a senior in 2012, he was named to the FCS All-American first-team, as he opened all 12 contests at left tackle for a squad that finished 10-2 and allowed only 23 sacks and led the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in rushing (200.3 ypg.).
Stills, 21, was selected by the Saints in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft with the 144th overall pick out of Oklahoma. The 6-foot, 190-pound native of Carlsbad, Calif. started all 38 games he appeared in for the Sooners. He left Norman ranked fourth in school record books in receiving with 204 catches for 2,595 yards (12.3 avg.) with 24 touchdowns. His yardage total ranks third in school record books, while his touchdown grab number ranks fifth. As a junior in 2012, Stills was a unanimous All-Big 12 Conference second-team selection as he opened all 13 games and led the team with a career-high 82 receptions for 959 yards (11.7 avg.) and 11 touchdowns, the fifth-highest receiving total in school history.
Johnson, 22, was selected by the Saints in the sixth round of the draft with the 183rd pick overall. The 6-foot-5 inch, 272-pound linebacker played two seasons at defensive end at Tarleton State from 2011-12 after transferring from Kilgore (Texas) Junior College, appearing in 20 games with 19 starts. He posted career totals of 96 tackles (55 solo), 15.5 sacks, 33 stops for a loss, three passes defensed and two forced fumbles. The Lone Star Conference’s Defensive Lineman of the Year and a Division II second-team All-American, Johnson played in nine games as a senior in 2012 and finished with 50 tackles (28 solo), 10 sacks, 17.5 stops for a loss, two passes defensed and two forced fumbles.