Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB, Vanderbilt
(percentile rank among all RBs at Combine since 1999, courtesy of Mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.51 seconds (66th)
Vertical: 32 inches (20th)
Broad: 117 inches (40th)
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vaughn’s college career started at Illinois, where he spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons. His 157 carries as a true freshman put him in a timeshare with eventual Indianapolis Colt Josh Ferguson.
After seeing his role reduced as a sophomore, Vaughn transferred to Vanderbilt. That meant sitting out the 2017 season.
Looking rejuvenated, Vaughn enjoyed his best year in 2018. Much of that success surfaced in the Commodores’ bowl game vs. Baylor: 13 carries, 243 yards and 2 TDs. (More on that game below.) Overall, Vaughn’s 7.9 YPC lead all SEC RBs with 50+ attempts. Impressive stuff.
2019 wasn’t quite as flashy, as Vanderbilt’s O-line regressed. And from a macro perspective, this simply wasn’t a good team. At 3-9 (and 1-7 in the SEC), Vandy’s rush attempts ranked bottom-8 in the nation.
Still, Vaughn posted a PFF Elusive Rating on par with Wisconsin stud Jonathan Taylor (103.2). Vaughn also easily set a career high with 29 catches, including a 61 yarder. His 1,298 scrimmage yards topped Vandy’s #2 RB (Keyon Brooks) by 989.
Essentially, Vaughn was a one man show. Let’s see him in action.
Games watched: LSU (2019), Georgia (2019, 2018), Notre Dame (2018), Baylor (2018), South Carolina (2018)
Vaughn excels at making one quick cut before getting into the second and third levels. In this first clip, we also see an open-field move that highlights his elusiveness.
Here's Vaughn again slashing through an open hole before finishing with some pop.
If you really want to see him inflict some damage, watch the Baylor game. You can see how he gains leverage with a frame that's just shy of 5'10 and 214 pounds. Just keep in mind that Baylor's run defense, statistically, was well below average...
Poor tackling is apparent in this next clip, but you like to see Vaughn's subtle patience to setup the play. He shows plenty of long-speed here -- as his Combine time of 4.51 indicates -- while it's also worth noting he registered an excellent 10-yard split of 1.55 seconds. Speed clearly isn't an issue.
Where Vaughn could use some work is in the passing game. Per Pro Football Focus, he's allowed a concerning amount of pressure as a pass blocker (17 in 229 chances). I also didn't see him do much beyond simple swing passes and screens, although as you'll see, he's unrelenting after the catch. Drops are another area Vaughn needs to clean up entering the pros.
As a redshirt senior, Vaughn's on the old side for a future rookie (23). We should certainly take that into consideration when evaluating his production at Vanderbilt.
Ultimately, what Vaughn displayed was solid. He's an above average runner with the feet, balance, athleticism and burst to keep an offense on track. But is he a difference-maker? I don't see it. In a class that's loaded at RB, what's easy to see is Vaughn slipping into Round 5 or Round 6 and starting off as an RB3. Unless he improves in the receiving/blocking game, it's unlikely NFL evaluators will foresee a sizable role down the road.