Malcolm Jenkins welcoming Kenny Vaccaro

May, 6, 2013
5/06/13
11:11
AM ET
It was very easy to criticize the New Orleans Saints' defensive secondary last season. But, these days, you have to give at least one member of the defensive backfield credit for the way he’s going about his business.

Jenkins
Vaccaro
That’s safety Malcolm Jenkins. He’s welcoming first-round draft pick Kenny Vaccaro with open arms even though the rookie could take his job.

“If you kind of look back at history, you see when we drafted (running back) Mark Ingram, how Reggie (Bush) handled it ... it was kind of the opposite,” Jenkins said.

When the Saints drafted Ingram, Bush didn’t react all that well. His tweet (“It’s been fun New Orleans”) made for an uncomfortable situation in the locker room and Bush eventually was traded to Miami.

But Jenkins, a former first-round pick, said he’s fine with the addition of Vaccaro.

“It’s going to make me better,’’ Jenkins said. “It’s going to make me push myself and I think it’s going to make our team better.”

That’s a healthy attitude. Besides, it still is unclear how the Saints plan to use Vaccaro. They have Jenkins at free safety and Roman Harper at strong safety. Vaccaro could end up starting in place of either one of them. Or the veterans could remain as the starters with Vaccaro taking a role in the nickel package.

Although Jenkins never quite has played up to his enormous potential, I don’t think the Saints are quite ready to give up on him. By not giving up on the Saints the way Bush did, Jenkins still could have a future in New Orleans.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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