Buccaneers: Ke’Shawn Vaughn needs room to grow in 2021

Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers , (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers , (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

Ke’Shawn Vaughn needs a larger chance.

Being a rookie running back for the Buccaneers is a difficult undertaking for anyone. The Bucs haven’t been great at supporting their rookie backs in the past, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn was no different in 2020.

With only 26 touches on the ground and a 50% catch rate through the air, Vaughn was pretty underwhelming for his third-round draft pick status, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t be great.

The cards were stacked against Vaughn almost as soon as he arrived in Tampa. Signing LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette did little to give Vaughn confidence in his new role, and a reduced training camp made it difficult for any rookie running backs to jump off to a quick start across the league.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn needs his touches to go up to improve

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Vaughn was relegated to the fourth role and saw little playing time in year one, but it isn’t time for Bucs fans to worry yet. While Vaughn’s rookie season was underwhelming, it was still far better than Ronald Jones’ production in year one. Vaughn looked much more confident as a runner than Jones did for the majority of his first two seasons in Tampa, and the Bucs can and should work with this.

After investing a day two pick on Vaughn last season, the Buccaneers owe it to themselves and Vaughn to try to make this work. Give it one season to see if Vaughn can make a name for himself. Drafting a replacement now in the early rounds feels like jumping ship far too soon.

The best opportunity for the Bucs is to pursue a running back by committee approach in 2021. Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones are good backs, but their future on the roster is questionable at the end of the season. Vaughn needs more touches this season if the Buccaneers want to determine their needs in 2022 and beyond.

It may be difficult for some fans to stomach the idea of the team passing on players like Najee Harris and Javonte Williams because of Vaughn, but Bruce Arians and Jason Licht haven’t made it this far by giving up on players. Vaughn didn’t shine in 2020, but he certainly won’t in 2021 either if he never touches the field.

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