'Why Ke'Shawn Vaughn?'
Ke'Shawn Vaughn played and succeeded in both the SEC & Big Ten before being selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 12th pick in the Third Round. While Vaughn does not possess the ceiling of some of the other backs in this 2020 class, he has a chance to be productive during his early career in Tampa Bay.
How does Vaughn compare to the rest of the Buccaneers backfield?
1 - Through contact skill set
Vaughn’s standout trait as a back is how he navigates and finds solutions for different contact types.
What makes him a threat past the second level is his ability to deflect & re-accelerate post-collision.
His top-end speed is also an underrated element to his game.
Something to notice with Vaughn is how he uses torque to his advantage to swing defenders off-balance during engagements.
This is an aid through contact for Vaughn and is something he does efficiently by getting to square immediately after he rotates.
Vaughn isn’t the type of back to run you over, but rather one that re-directs engagements to gain additional yardage.
Watch how after he gets through the arm tackle he is presses inside to decrease the surface area by dipping his shoulder simultaneously through two consecutive periods of contact.
While Vaughn isn’t flashy, he makes up for that with efficiency.
At the NFL level it won’t be this easy to gain yards post collision, however Vaughn wins with both balance & efficiency through contact which should have immediate carryover.
Vaughn's capabilities during early acceleration are also an aid in resolving collision periods.
2 - Efficiency in short yardage & redzone situations
Vaughn's decisive nature comes into play when you see him operate around the goal-line. He’s one of the better ‘goal-to-go’ backs in this class, and should be an area where he sees early career opportunity.
He’s at his best as a pure downhill runner in a zone heavy scheme because of his suddenness during early acceleration combined with his impressive balance when he’s contacted at the second level.
Vaughn does most of his damage in between the tackles as a runner.
Vaughn’s capabilities through contact are magnified in short yardage situations.
He adjusts well to early engagements and is an impressive short-area problem solver.
From a play strength standpoint Vaughn shows he can drop his hips and move piles in short yardage situations.
This will come into play frequently between the tackles in the NFL and can be area where Vaughn can provide long-term value.
3 - Skill set as a receiver
As a receiver, Vaughn is above adequate and is a reliable check down option out of the backfield.
His standout traits come after the catch where he is adept at gaining yards post contact.
He does showcase the ability to make catches away from frame, and will be a solid option in the flats.
Vaughn does not have far reaching capabilities as a receiver, and profiles more so as a checkdown & screen option.
The screen game is an area where Vaughn can have immediate success.
He has a steady calm when setting up downfield blocks, and has above average play speed that will help him separate from NFL defenders.
4 - Play speed
Vaughn is a plus accelerator and consistently separates from linebackers & defensive backs past the second level.
He is a technically sound sprinter in the open field and has above average ‘long speed’ due to how well he prolongs deceleration.
This is more so an indication of a poor angle by #11 than Vaughn’s play speed, but you can still see how difficult he is to track down in the open field.
At the NFL level these plays will be far less common, however Vaughn still has the capability to break long runs and put points on the board in a hurry.
An area to look at when observing play speed is how much separation is created when defenders appear to have a solid collision angle.
Vaughn separates on both #2 & #11, and is an area of his game that is underrated.
While I do not believe Vaughn is a spectacular athlete, he is better than given credit for and is a threat to take it the distance if given a crease.
5 - Proficiency in pass protection
Keeping Tom Brady upright is priority number one for Arians & the Buccaneers.
Part of the reason they drafted Vaughn was because he was one of the most reliable backs in pass protection throughout college football.
Being available for all three downs is a box Vaughn checks.
Not being afraid to step in and take a shot is a pre requisite for success when you're protecting a franchise quarterback.
Vaughn stands in, and is able to receive & deliver hard contact in pass protection.
6 - Movement solutions & lack of a lateral skill set
As a mover, Vaughn falls into the strict category.
Meaning is movement signature has a 'strict' path to it, with little variation.
Vaughn doesn't have a dynamic lateral element to his game, but does show an understanding of the conceptual side of singular engagements.
Watch how he quickly flashes inside which disrupts the path of #25 and effectively causes him to false step towards the perceived cutback opportunity.
Every back solves problems differently.
Vaughn like I mentioned before, is strict in that manner. This can work well in singular engagements when he remains economical.
We talked about his through contact skill set before and this correlates directly into his movement signature.
He is a skilled back in the sense that he efficiently anticipates collision types and marries that with an economical solution.
Watch here how Vaughn takes a back step on #7 allowing him the space he needs to escape up the sideline.
Vaughn struggles at times to create solutions after early acceleration.
He is a north-south runner who does not efficiently find a dynamic option in the open field.
We see this again.
Vaughn's lateral movement qualities dissipate after early acceleration.
Essentially, cutbacks at high speeds are not an element of Vaughn's game and should not be expected.
6 - Landing spot: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Vaughn walks into an immediate committee in Tampa Bay, but one with a clear path to relevance. His running mate, Ronald Jones II has struggled at times between the tackles, and also, in pass protection.
Keeping Tom Brady upright is the first priority, and is an area where Vaughn can create early career opportunity for himself. His ability to protect Brady and provide a reliable goal-line option may bring fantasy relevance earlier than anticipated.
7 - 'Who is Ke'Shawn Vaughn?'
Vaughn adds an interesting element to an already talented running back class. As a Commodore, Vaughn had 2,199 yards and 22 touchdowns in last two seasons. He was productive, and efficient throughout his collegiate career.
The one word I would use to describe Vaughn is reliable. He isn't flashy, dynamic and doesn't offer elite level upside as a runner, but he provides a solid option for this new look, Tampa Bay offense. As a back, Vaughn has good acceleration capabilities and top-end speed, profiling more as one-cut, North South runner.
Vaughn's lack of dynamism does hurt his ceiling in both fantasy and reality, but if he does he get the lead job in Tampa Bay he could very well be a fantasy relevant option with three down upside.
Lack of dynamism