Buccaneers: Ke’Shawn Vaughn stands to lose big in the 2021 NFL Draft

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’s seat with the Buccaneers could heat up after Thursday.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn is likely one draft pick away from becoming a bust for the Buccaneers. The talent is clearly there to be a back in the NFL, but the fit was never there with Tampa. This conversation only becomes more pressing later this week.

Vaughn is the fourth running back in a unit of four. Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette, and Giovani Bernard will be the featured options regardless of how the draft goes, but a draft pick could still fall on the position.

The first round is probably a long shot for a running back, especially with the Bernard signing, but there are plenty of options in the later rounds that could be favorable pairings with the Bucs. Drafting any of them could make Vaughn obsolete.

As it stands, Vaughn is the only back that is on the books for 2022, and the Buccaneers need to make sure that they don’t have complete turnover leading into that season, the final year for Tom Brady in Tampa.

If Tampa did want to draft a lead-type back to serve as insurance in the future, Vaughn could be the odd man out in training camp.

Even with the injuries and the heavy focus on the run game in 2021, keeping more than four backs on this team makes little sense. The Buccaneers need the space much more at receiver, tight end, and on defense, and the top three running backs aren’t getting cut.

Jason Licht and the front office could take a chance on any backs in the first through fourth rounds, and Vaughn’s seat heats up. This certainly isn’t fair, but Tampa probably won’t cut a third-round pick they just drafted over one that barely played the year before.

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There currently isn’t enough need at the position to warrant a higher pick, and players like Kenneth Gainwell could make Vaughn’s job safer with the ability to play other positions, but a proven running back joining the roster now could mark the end of the Ke’Shawn Vaughn era in Tampa.

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