ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Kary Vincent Jr. sits alone in his car with full bars on his phone and a smile on his face. He is talking sports, and everything about his passion rings genuine. He was born into the arena.
"I come from a family of athletes: basketball players, track runners, football players, boxers. It’s something where I have always been around sports. Football, as you say, I watched my dad doing growing up. I heard all the stories about how great he was. I wanted to be like him, and I wanted to be better than him," said Vincent, whose Denver7 Meet The Picks segment will be featured Wednesday at 6 p.m. "That’s just the competitive nature in me.”
Vincent Sr., who played cornerback at Texas A&M, was a sixth-round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints in 1992. He inspired his son, who followed in his path. A high school coach and teacher in Port Arthur, Texas, Vincent Sr. died in 2018 at age 49 after two bouts with pneumonia.
His son continued to make him proud. Vincent Jr. made his presence known as a freshman at LSU, leaving his mark on the track and football teams. He started three games at nickel back and also ran a 10.07 100-meter dash and anchored the lead leg of the 4 X 100 relay team all season.
"I was always working on my quick twitch. My father used to tell me the only way to be fast is to do things fast," Vincent Jr. said. "And if you are always moving fast, it just becomes second nature."
Vincent credits the LSU coaches for helping him participate in both sports, with football easing his work load during spring ball. In the end, Vincent liked track but loved the gridiron. It showed as he became one of the country's most intriguing defensive backs, showing prowess that wasn't lost on the Broncos as they snatched him up in the seventh round with the 237th overall pick after he sat out the 2020 season.
"It wasn’t that we needed a corner, but he was sticking out like a sore thumb. This kid is really talented, and he was falling. He’s fast and he’s a track guy," said Broncos general manager George Paton of the player some have called the steal of the final round.
"He had some injuries, so he was falling a little bit. He can play nickel, and he’s played safety. If we can get him right -- I think he’s a god kid -- in right health to be a pro, I think he can be a really good player.”
Vincent has never wilted in the spotlight. He starred as a prep, his highlights looking like a human joystick.
“Yes, sir. Texas is big football state," Vincent said. "High schools get treated like colleges out here, so that’s how that goes.”
Vincent attracted big-time schools, going on multiple visits with Broncos third round pick Baron Browning. Browning chose Ohio State, delivering a solid career. Vincent won a national title with LSU, part of a Tigers team that tipped the record book on its head with an offense that boasted Joe Burrows, Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
"That season was like a movie. That’s the closest thing I can compare it to. We just had so much fun," said Vincent, who finished his career with 87 tackles and six interceptions. "And I tell everybody the chemistry we had was second to none. I believe that was the key to our success. The offense and the defense were always together at practice and after practice. Man, we were really a brotherhood. That’s something I get to go back and watch and enjoy forever."
Those 39 games at LSU served as an internship for the NFL. He regularly lined up against NFL players, including Broncos receiver Jerry Jeudy at Alabama.
"They always ask me who I feel was the toughest receiver I had to guard throughout my career, and I say Jeudy," Vincent said. "The guy's sticks in routes are second to none. I can’t wait to compete against him and with him.”
For Vincent to crack the Broncos' 53-man roster, he must demonstrate versatility and high football IQ. He's acted as a sponge around the veterans. His blurry speed helps his bid, but the ability to function outside and in the slot remain critical.
"I feel like the key to being a good nickel, a great nickel is being able to do almost everything. Being able to play zone, play man, be able to drop into the middle of the field, being able to blitz," Vincent said. "Just having a lot of weapons to use.”
When you turn on the film, Vincent defines himself as fearless. Whether it happens as a rookie or not, he profiles as the type of player the Broncos need after producing only 33 takeaways the past two seasons.
“I am a playmaker. I just want to find the ball. I just want to be around the ball," Vincent said. "I am going to go up and make the spectacular catch when I catch picks. I am just going to be around the ball. Playmaker.”
Like father, like son.