As the NFL draft wore on last night you could hear the gnashing of teeth as one by one the top running backs came off the board.
First, it was D’Andre Swift going to the Detroit Lions, then Jonathan Taylor goes to the Indianapolis Colts.
Everyone was still breathing easy at this point as JK Dobbins of Ohio State and Cam Akers of Ohio state was still on the board.
Then the Bucs did the unthinkable, they took yet another defensive back in the second round after drafting three defensive backs in the 2019 draft.
You might as well take another kicker right?
Well not so fast. The Bucs did get their guy in the round. A hard runner, a guy who has above-average top-end speed in Vanderbilt running back Ke’Shawn Vaughan.
The five foot ten 214 pounds back started his college career at Illinois playing for ex-Bucs coach Lovie Smith before transferring back to his home town of Nashville to play his final two seasons at Vanderbilt.
Vaughan started every game at running back last season, rushing for 1,015 yards and nine touchdowns.
Vaughan finished his Commodores career as the fifth leading rusher in school history with 2,259 yards and 21 touchdowns. Vaughan had eight touchdowns runs of 60 plus yards his final two seasons which led college football.
Vaughan excels with finishing speed in the open field as he was a sprinter in high school with 4.51 speed in the 40.
He is a good pass blocker and can break through arm tackles on a regular basis and has good lateral movement.
Where Vaughan really improved is in his pass-catching ability from his junior to senior season catching 28 passes for 270 yards and one touchdown in 2019.
Vaughan’s production did decline a bit from his junior to senior year but still managed to average 5.8 yards per carry, playing behind a suspect offensive line at Vanderbilt.
Vaughan will join Ronald Jones, Dare Ogunbowale, and TJ Logan in the Bucs backfield.
Vaughan would appear to meet Bruce Arian’s goal of acquiring a pass-catching back, and also a back that can line up as a wide receiver at times.
The Bucs needed to take a back that has good hands as Tom Brady likes to use his back as receivers.
Licht talked about why they selected Vaughan in the third round and passed up bigger names like Swift, Akers, Taylor, and Dobbins.
“We try to evaluate players based on our coaches, our scouts, and how we like them. Sometimes a guy can be, and I’m not picking on any player, in particular, sometimes everybody thinks a player that’s talked about the most is a better player. Right now, we’ll see how it goes, but we’re happy with the guys that we got.”
On what he will bring to the Buccaneers, Licht said, “ We know he has good speed, we know he can catch the ball, we know that he’s good in space. He’s also a very intense person … in his demeanor, his football character, and passion, one of the things we really loved about him. He’s very smart. I think he’s capable of playing on all three downs. You can’t have too many good backs. You can’t just rely on one good back. If you have a guy who can do multiple things, the more valuable to our team.”
On what he will bring to the Bucs, Vaughan said, “As a back, I believe I have home-run abilities. I can also have that same ability as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. I could always catch, but I wasn’t a natural receiver, just based on high school when I ran the ball all the time. In college, you’ve got to get more involved in the passing game, so I’ve been getting comfortable with my hands.”
Vaughan is being compared to Alvin Kamara, of the New Orleans Saints and David Johnson of the Texans.