Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s potential role 2020

Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers used another high-round draft pick on a running back during this past draft. Here is a look at Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s role in 2020.

More than just the analysts were surprised during the 2020 NFL Draft when Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s name was called in the third round. Vaughn put together an impressive college tape, but very few people had him on their radar in that round for the Bucs.

It is no secret that Tampa Bay has struggled with its run game for the past few seasons. Many analysts surmised that the team would target a running back in one of the first two rounds to remedy this problem, but the Bucs decided to wait until the third round to pull the trigger.

Vaughn was a great runner of the football and showed some signs of being a great between the tackles runner in the NFL, but the initial belief was that Vaughn would be used at a different capacity.

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Tom Brady loves throwing passes to running backs. Ronald Jones showed that he had above-average hands in 2019, but his biggest weakness is pass-blocking. Vaughn wasn’t used heavily in the passing game in college, but the prevailing opinion was that his improved blocking and big-play ability would translate well to a third-down back in the NFL.

This would seem like a perfect fit, but there are several problems with that perception. The Bucs already have a third-down back on their roster who seems to have safety from roster cuts. Dare Ogunbowale didn’t pop on the stat sheet last season, but a year with Brady could see a jump in production.

Ogunbowale is also a safer option. He has already spent time in the NFL, is a leader on the roster, and has even started to get reps in with Brady. The real kicker is also that COVID-19 could make it hard for teams to successfully evaluate their rookie talent, meaning vets could keep their jobs.

Based on skillset and experience, Vaughn will face an uphill battle to take Ogunbowale’s job, but that doesn’t mean Vaughn will have an unimportant role. The Bucs need a backup to Ronald Jones to shoulder some of the workload running the ball. Peyton Barber served this role last season, and Vaughn could be a potential step-up in efficiency and production.

Regardless of what his role will be, expect for Vaughn to finish the year with the second-most running back touches. Bruce Arians and Jason Licht appear to like their new running back a great deal and could try to force more touches to the rookie.

Training camp and the preseason (if it happens) will be the real litmus test of where Vaughn will end up. His talent is there, but he will have to work even harder during the coming months to show that he deserves the reps that people foresee.

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