Dynasty Profile: Ke'Shawn Vaughn
One of the most talked about and hyped rookies is new Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn.
Bruce Arenas and company used a third round pick to acquire the Vanderbilt product and ever since, he’s been quickly rising rookie draft boards.
We’re still unclear of what we can expect or what we’ll get out of Vaughn with investing a late first or early second rookie pick in him.
We’re here today to try to figure out what we can expect from Vaughn in this new look Tampa offense.
Of course, we can only project what will happen under the projected two-year Tom Brady Reign.
We’ll begin with what Vaughn did in college playing in the SEC.
At face value, his stats look impressive for a back playing at a smaller SEC program going up against the power-houses of the college football world.
He ran for 1,028 yards on 5.2 yards-per-carry and nine touchdowns. Again, at face value, impressive.
However, if we look at it from a game-by-game perspective, he went over 100 yards in four games during the season.
Although he did have what seemed to be an impressive outing against eventual College Football Champion LSU with his 20-130-2 performance, the rest of his big games came against small programs with poor run defenses. Additionally, a lot of his damage done against LSU came in the second half in garbage time as the team lost 38 to 66.
Beyond the LSU game he had lines of 17-138-1 against Northern Illinois, 15-140-1 against UNLV and 14-139-2 against FCS opponent Eastern Tennessee State. Northern Illinois and UNLV ranked 84th and 93rd respectively against the run across college football.
He also had lines of 15-28 against Florida, 12-58-1 against Kentucky, 6-13 against Tennessee and more unimpressive outings.
He also is not much of a receiving back, totaling 25 receptions on the season for 194 yards and one touchdown.
If we were to take out his three big games against Northern Illinois, UNLV and Eastern Tennessee State and averaged out the remainder of his nine games across a 12 game season, he would have posted a line of 203-815-7 on four yards-per-carry. Nothing to write home about.
Many like Vaughn’s value in the rookie draft due his landing spot in Tampa as they view it as there not being much in terms of competition ahead of him.
Many are forgetting that Ronald Jones II quietly snuck onto the scene last year after a very poor rookie season with 172 carries for 724 yards and six touchdowns. Doing so on 4.2 yards-per-carry.
Now Peyton Barber is out of the picture, leaving behind 154 carries. Vaughn is believed to be consuming that Barber role.
But we also can’t forget that there’s a new sheriff in town in Tom Brady.
We all know Tom Brady loves to throw to his running backs.
Last year, he threw to his running backs 164 times, 51 more times than Jameis Winston did.
This has been Brady’s forte for the later part of his career and that won’t be stopping now.
Last season, Dare Ogunbowale caught 35 of his 46 targets from Jameis, both team highs. He too remains with the team.
Ogunbowale will be more involved in this offense with Brady under center, as the safety valve he has relied on heavily in New England for years. This alone will take a large chuck on those Barber carries left behind.
Now onto Jones. Jones is being slept on due to his awful rookie season, and rightfully so. But last season he proved that he can be a capable NFL back.
He ranked 29th in the league in yards-per-carry with 4.2 and was fourth among running-backs who received at least 20 receptions in yards-per-receptions.
He added 31 receptions of 40 targets last season as well. He too will be a favorite of Brady’s.
He’s due for an uptick in work as much of his success came in the final nine games of the season where he started.
Jones is also younger than Vaughn is.
Barber did see 16 receptions on 24 targets however so there is some hope there for Vaughn.
Breaking down the splits from Tampa’s offense a season ago, Jones had 51-percent of the carries as Barber had 45-percent.
Ogunbowale saw 41-percent of running back targets as Jones saw 35-percent and Barber 21-percent.
In New England, James White, the main receiving back, saw 58-percent of the running back targets as Burkhead saw 23-percent and Sony Michel 12-percent.
After all of this, what I’m getting to is, while Tom Brady is the quarterback of the Buccaneers, Vaughn’s involvement will be limited. Expect Ronald Jones to lead the team in snaps and Ogunbowale to be played on passing plays. Vaughn will see his work, but not to the extent that you may be hoping for.