As Ke’Shawn Vaughn is learning, you have to stay on Bruce Arians’ good side if you want to succeed on the Buccaneers.
As most Buccaneers fans can probably tell you, the team drafting Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft was not the highlight of their night. Vaughn had a great college career and some great athleticism that would translate to the next level well, but many of the casual fans were surprised to hear his name so early with other options available.
Regardless, the coaching staff took the player they felt would be the best fit, and Vaughn was their guy. We all know by now that this front office deserves a little trust, especially on the draft front.
Expectations for Vaughn changed rapidly as the team started to take shape. Vaughn went from being the starting third-down back in the eyes of the fanbase to the third or fourth running back on game days, and it looked like the Bucs had used another draft pick on a running back that would not pan out in their first year.
Vaughn had his moments during his rookie season, a year that was still better than Ronald Jones’ first year, and the coaching staff decided to avoid the position in the draft after switching LeSean McCoy for Giovanni Bernard.
This decision alone showed some decent faith in Vaughn, and after his high points last season, it makes sense.
Vaughn’s best game came against a terrible Lions defense, but he showed enough power, vision, and burst to indicate that he still has a bright future ahead in the NFL. Vaughn showed patience and read the defense well, and he deserves more touches in 2021 to see if he takes the next step as Jones did in a similar situation.
Fortunately for the second-year back, the path to making a bigger role is very straightforward; stay on Bruce Arians’ good side.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn needs to keep Bruce Arians happy
At the end of the day, Arians is the one who makes the final decisions, and he has shown to have very little patience with his running backs. If you fumble the ball, don’t expect to see the field for a few reps. If you miss a key block, you best get comfortable on the bench.
The Bucs have several starting-caliber running backs they can lean on, so Arians is free to dish out punishment for play on the field however he sees fit without worrying about the offense suffering. Arians has been quick to criticize his players in the past when they mess up, but he also doesn’t shy away from showing praise when someone plays well, which is good news for Vaughn.
Arians is happy with where Vaughn is at, according to Greg Auman on Twitter, which means the former Vanderbilt running back could be well on his way to more touches in 2021.
Vaughn still has a long way to go before he is a main contributor on this roster, but this news from Arians is great for him. This coaching staff doesn’t give out compliments for nothing, and Vaughn has clearly picked up his game from his already-promising moments during his rookie year to draw praise like this.
While he may still be the fourth running back on the depth chart, don’t count Ke’Shawn Vaughn out as a contributor for the Buccaneers in 2021.
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