The Bucs were excited when they were able to draft Vaughn out of Vanderbilt in the third round in the 2020 NFL Draft, as they thought they had secured the duel-threat back they needed, especially since you should never draft a back in the first round. While Vaughn has admittedly struggled a bit in the passing game, it is ok since he’s made up for it on the ground.
When the Buccaneers brought in Le’Veon Bell when their running back room was getting banged up, there was speculation that this spelled doom for the second-year player. However, the team, and Bruce Arians in particular, kept the faith in their draft pick, and thus far it has payed off in dividends.
Bucco Bruce has faith in Vaughn, and that is colossal. The end of the season, in the playoffs in particular, are when the importance of being able to run the football is heightened. After bursting onto the scene with an impressive 55-yard rush in Carolina, Vaughn has been solid and dependable.
Vaughn has rushed for 183 yards and three touchdowns on 42 carries in that span, and while those kind of numbers won’t get anyone to Canton, it helps the team in the long run. Vaughn was solid in the Buccaneers’ Wildcard victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, rushing for 53 yards and a touchdown, setting the tone early that the Bucs would not be denied. In the absence of Playoff Lenny, Vaughn did exactly what was needed in order to help his team get the W.
While the impending potential returns of Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones may put a bit of a cloud over Vaughn’s future, he at the very least has done an adequate job of holding down the fort in their absence, and has proved that the Buccaneers’ decision to draft him was far from a mistake.