TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers used their third-round draft pick to select Ke’Shawn Vaughn, a running back out of Vanderbilt, who spent his first two seasons at Illinois. He was the seventh running back taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, selected 76th overall.
But don’t sleep on a third round pick.
Another NFL running back you may have heard of, who was also a third-round selection is now a household name, three-time Pro Bowl selection, 2017 NFL Rookie of the Year, and one of the best backs in the league. That would be New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara. Kamara, who also played collegiate football in Tennessee for the Vols, was taken as the sixth running back off the board in the 2017 NFL Draft, selected 67th overall.
The similarities definitely set-up a comparison between the two players, and hopefully for the Bucs, they see the same production from Vaughn, who said he’s looked-up to Kamara.
“Before I entered the league he was one of the guys that was one of my favorite running backs as far as NFL-wise,” Vaughn said. “But I mean now we’re on the same level, so now we’re kind of competing now to see who can be the best so that’s a good thing. But AK was a dude I kind of modeled some of my game after.”
Coming into a league where the run-pass option is more prevalent than ever, versatility as a running back is key. Pass-catching ability by backs has spiked in recent years and has been something Vaughn has developed his final two years at Vandy. In addition to 2,272 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns in 2018 and 2019 combined, Vaughn also caught 42 passes for 458 yards. He said his pass-catching ability is one area of his game he’s seen the most improvement in.
“Just getting more comfortable catching the ball was my biggest thing,” Vaughn said. “Out of the backfield, running different types of routes is something I had to get used to on the college level. But these past two years I was able to make that step in the right direction, getting better at that certain thing and I feel I did a good job of it.”
Vaughn was one of two running backs the Bucs drafted at the end of April, also selecting Raymond Calais out of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. They join Ronald Jones II, Dare Ogunbowale, T.J. Logan and Aca’Cedric Ware to round-out the Bucs’ backs. It’s a full room, but that only sets-up motivation to make each other better.
“Competition comes with the game,” Vaughn said. “That’s something I’m ready for any time but you’ve also got to think league-wise, multiple running backs are used so if the whole room is good, that competition level just gets ramped-up. Then once they do pick and choose who they want, that rotation of everybody coming in and sliding in when it’s their turn, you can’t beat that.”
The Bucs virtual rookie minicamp began this week, with the rookies getting into the playbook and participating in virtual position meetings on a daily basis.
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