Ke’Shawn Vaughn Is The Most Underrated Back In The NFL Draft
Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
Weight: 214 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.51 seconds
Vertical Jump: 32.0 inches
Broad Jump: 117.0 inches
3-Cone Drill: NA
Ke’Shawn Vaughn is one of the most underrated backs in this class. While the offense he played in at Vanderbilt was atrocious, Vaughn consistently showed the traits that NFL teams look for in a RB prospect. He may not have the numbers that would suggest he belongs in the top-5 of this RB class, but when you put on his tape, you see the type of player whose skillset translates very well to the NFL.
Vaughn may not have the college production to justify spending a day two pick on him in the NFL Draft, but the traits are there. He’s flying under the radar in this class and that needs to be fixed.
Here’s my detailed scouting report on Ke’Shawn Vaughn (ratings out of five stars):
Vaughn’s vision evaluation is difficult because he played behind a terrible offensive line. While Cam Akers certainly holds the title for the worst OL in CFB last season, Vaughn’s not far behind him. However, he’s consistently displaying good decision-making and frequently reaches the second level of the defense. The beneficial part of seeing Vaughn work with a shoddy OL in college is that we know he can succeed if he lands in a less than favorable spot in the NFL.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn is a player I’ve ranked highly for quite some time. This clip shows some of the things I really like about him:
— Nick Whalen (@_NickWhalen) February 2, 2020
Elusiveness (twitch, juke, tackle-breaking)
When you watch Vaughn on tape, you’ll notice that he isn’t the most fluid runner. He tends to run a bit stiff, however, he compensates for it by keeping a low center of gravity and good footwork. Another thing you’ll notice is how many tackles he breaks play after play. According to PFF, Vaughn had 54 missed tackles forced in 2019. For comparison, D’Andre Swift had only 40 Missed Tackles Forced in 2019. When you take into context that Vaughn had 1,028 rushing yards last season and that 743 of them came in Yards After Contact (also, per PFF), that’s pretty outstanding.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn is so elusive and dynamic. Incredibly fun player to watch. pic.twitter.com/jYQuuk84E9
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) September 21, 2019
Vaughn showed up to the Senior Bowl at only 205 pounds, which was lighter than what he was listed at by Vanderbilt. This had me concerned about his long-term durability and his ability to handle a true workhorse role. However, he showed up to the NFL Combine at 215, which is what I wanted to see. At that weight, Vaughn proceeded to demonstrate the top-end speed that I saw on tape by running a 4.51 40-yard dash. That’s a great number for his size and shows that he has the ability to break away in the open field at the next level.
He. Could. Go. All. The. Way. AGAIN!!
Can't stop Ke'Shawn Vaughn. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/aKC8lTmV3Q
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) December 28, 2018
This is where Ke’Shawn Vaughn separates himself from other backs in this class. Vaughn is an extremely smooth and natural receiver and is able to make things happen after the catch. While he wasn’t used frequently in this capacity, he shows proficiency and could make an impact immediately for fantasy football simply due to his receiving chops. Additionally, Vaughn excelled in pass protection and showed proficiencies in blitz recognition and pickup. This only expedites his opportunity to get onto the field.
Ke'Shawn Vaughn paced the Vanderbilt offense on the ground as they pulled-off the upset over Missouri!
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) October 21, 2019
Vaughn fits best as a zone runner who will be asked to find a lane and shoot upfield quickly with his explosiveness and burst. As mentioned above, Vaughn also brings proficiencies in the receiving game and pass protection, which will allow him to stay on the field for all three downs.
Projected Draft Spot
Due to concerns about his change of direction competency and the lack of standout production, Vaughn seems destined for a day three selection. However, we’ve seen several RBs come out in recent years and make an impact for fantasy football despite the lack of draft capital. Vaughn makes a ton of sense for a team like the Houston Texans, who need an upgrade at the RB position, but may not want to spend big on it in free agency. They’d be able to snag Vaughn with one of their 3rd/4th round picks. He’d move into back end of first round Dynasty rookie draft consideration with that landing spot and the lack of true competition around him.
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