Bruce Arians and the Buccaneers have a plan for Ke’Shawn Vaughn in 2021, and after last night, that plan is starting to become clear.
If you’re out on Ke’Shawn Vaughn, now is a perfect time to reevaluate your decision and come back to the right side. The Buccaneers have plenty of opportunities for new players to step up in a title defense campaign, and Bruce Arians isn’t doing much to hide his opinion of the young back.
Arians has never been one of the coaches to play games with his players. There is very little subterfuge or secrecy with a coach like B.A., and the writing is officially on the wall for a Ke’Shawn Vaughn breakout season in 2021.
Even with Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette, and Giovani Bernard on the roster, the stars are lining up for Vaughn to emerge with a much more prominent role than most would expect.
Just looking at Arians historically, Vaughn is bound to step into a new role in year two. In Arizona, Arians avoided the running back position for a few years in the draft, brought in some free agents to fill the gap, and then spent an early pick on the future of the position, much like what he did in Tampa.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn may not project to have the same second season as David Johnson did in Arizona, but Arians doesn’t draft guys he can’t see as viable contributors. There’s a reason why Vaughn played so much in the first preseason game.
There are currently no backs on the roster other than Vaughn that are under contract further than this season, and there is no reason to think that will change any time soon.
Fournette’s good games last season were the outlier, not the norm. The regular-season version of Fournette was a far cry from Playoff Lenny, and Arians and Fournette were close to reaching a bad break towards the end of the season.
Ronald Jones is coming off the best season of his career, but he did little to improve as a receiver, and it is telling that the Bucs haven’t locked him down for the future yet as well. Jones wasn’t an Arians draft pick, and Arians isn’t fond of players that can’t catch.
Given his usage after one game and the unmistakable uptick in consistency as a runner and as a receiver, there is a genuine chance that Vaughn could shoot up the depth chart this year. Vaughn may not be as good as Bernard through the air, but he could be a close number two in that regard, and he could emerge as the second-best runner as well.
This may seem like a lot to pull from a single preseason game, but Arians isn’t the type of guy to waste anyone’s time. If he likes a player, there is a reason why, and there is obviously plenty to like in Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s game.
As of now, it looks like Vaughn is the fourth back on the roster, but if Arians continues to use him in a heavy role and shows praise after each game as he already has, there is a very decent chance that Vaughn could emerge as the second or third back on the roster during the season.
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