The Buccaneers were one of the big winners of this offseason simply because they got both Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. They also might have landed a draft steal in Vanderbilt tailback Ke’Shawn Vaughn in Round 3. Here are Vaughn’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as well as the Bucs’ over/under win total.
Tampa Bay grabbed Vaughn with the No. 76 overall pick of April’s draft.
Vaughn was named the Tennessee Gatorade Football Player of the Year as a senior and was also a high school track and field standout, anchoring the state champion 4x100m relay his senior year. Yet he surprised many by committing to Illinois over his hometown Commodores.
As a true freshman at Illinois in 2015, Vaughn rushed for 723 yards on 157 carries with six touchdowns. As a sophomore, he had 301 rushing yards on 60 carries and three touchdowns. After the season, Vaughn transferred to Vanderbilt – which is located in of Nashville.
Vaughn had to sit out in 2017 because of the transfer. In 2018, he was the SEC Newcomer of the Year and second-team All-SEC. Vaughn had 1,244 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns on 157 carries – the yards were second-most in school history. His 103.7 rushing yards/game were second in the SEC. His 7.9 yards per rush was first in the conference. Vaughn had 10 rushes of 40 or more yards and six rushes of 60 or more yards. Both were first in the SEC. In the Texas Bowl vs. Baylor, he torched the Bears with 243 yards rushing on just 13 carries – the yards were second-most in Vandy history.
As a senior, he rushed for 1,105 yards and nine scores. His 2019 rushing production was constricted by the Commodore’s 125th ranked offense. Still, he became only the third Vanderbilt running back to post multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons, joining Ralph Webb and Zac Stacy. In 23 career appearances, he had 2,259 yards, fifth all-time among Vanderbilt backs. His 21 rushing scores were third. Remember, he only played the two years there.
Vaughn makes defenders miss while running downhill, showcasing nice vision with just enough wiggle to set up broken tackles as a physical runner. He set a career-high with 28 receptions as a redshirt senior and is good enough to play on passing downs, though he profiles best as a complementary runner in the NFL.
He said his pass-catching ability is one area of his game he’s seen the most improvement in.
“Just getting more comfortable catching the ball was my biggest thing,” Vaughn said. “Out of the backfield, running different types of routes is something I had to get used to on the college level. But these past two years I was able to make that step in the right direction, getting better at that certain thing and I feel I did a good job of it.”
Vaughn’s primary knocks are his age — he’ll be a 23-year-old rookie — and lack of quickness; he ran the 40-yard dash in so-so 4.51 seconds. He’s a tough 5-foot-10, 214 pounds. He has the size and ability to quickly contribute as a rusher, as a receiver and at the goal line. He’ll compete with Ronald Jones for carries and Dare Ogunbowale for targets right away in the new-look Buccaneers’ offense.
Over the past two seasons, Vaughn led the SEC with an average of 4.4 yards per rush after contact (min. 100 rushes, per PFF). Vaughn’s receiving skills and Brady’s short passing game (155 targets to backs in 2019 — second-most among NFL QBs, according to PFF) match well.
“The idea is to get him here and see what he does best,” Buccaneers general manger Jason Licht said of Vaughn. “We know that he’s got good speed. We know that he can catch the ball. We know that he’s good in space – he’s been very productive there. I think he’s capable of playing on all three downs so you can’t have too many good backs.”