Darren Sharper understands the skepticism of some New Orleans Saints fans when it comes to the team's first-round draft pick, safety Kenny Vaccaro. Because Sharper himself helped to create that skepticism.

Sharper set the bar ridiculously high for safeties in NOLA when he intercepted nine passes for the Saints in 2009.

And like a lot of fans, Sharper admits that interceptions are the first thing he always looks for in safeties. So when he saw that Vaccaro had only five career picks at Texas, "it kind of opens my eyes."

But Sharper also admits that he's more obsessed with interceptions than most. He called them a "luxury," and said it's not always the most important skill set for safeties - especially in today's pass-happy NFL.

And from everything he's heard, Vaccaro's overall skill set is awfully impressive.

"I talked to a couple coaches and scouts around the league, and they think he's the real deal," said Sharper, who now analyzes the league for the NFL Network. "A versatile safety who can play either position, and also go down on the slot and make some plays."

That seems to be a wildly popular opinion among scouts, coaches and draft analysts around the NFL.

Although Vaccaro didn't have eye-popping numbers in college or eye-popping results in pre-draft tests like the 40-yard dash, he was almost universally rated as the top safety in this year's draft class -- ranked between 10th and 25th on just about every analyst's list.

Longtime NFL personnel guru Gil Brandt, who is based in Texas and knows Vaccaro well, raved about his talent, toughness and his attitude.