It’s not often a NFL team gets the chance to draft a family member of one of their team employees, at a position of need no less, but that is exactly what Dallas did with the 212th overall pick. The Cowboys added to their backfield in a much-needed way by drafting Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn, the son of assistant director of college scouting Chris Vaughn.
The “why” behind this pick doesn’t stop here though. Vaughn is a 3,000 yard rusher over three years in college, racking up 1,558 yards and eight touchdowns the year after going for 1,404 and 18 (!!!) TDs in 2021. Vaughn should fit in seamlessly with the direction the Cowboys want to go in their run game, already making the commitment to Tony Pollard as their lead back with Malik Davis and Rico Dowdle behind him.
The trio of Pollard, Davis, and Dowdle brings speed, explosiveness, and big-play ability outside the tackles, the same traits the Cowboys are getting in Deuce Vaughn. The tape on Vaughn far exceeds his measurables, with the latter explaining why he was even left on the board for Dallas to draft. Vaughn enters the NFL as the shortest running back in the league, and weighs just 179 pounds, but runs with a rare mix of speed and power given his stature.
Any back that can outrun an entire Nick Saban defense for 88 yards and a score is well worth a day three pick. The Cowboys already have a near-annual tradition of fans claiming a down roster RB as their pet cat through the preseason, and Vaughn feels like an easy pick here before even putting on the silver and blue.
Vaughn’s vision and low center of gravity make him a dangerous north to south runner, cutting off his blocks well and beating the angle on defenders to the sideline. This is also a player that caught 116 passes and nine touchdowns in his college career, the type of receiving threat at RB the Cowboys don’t have behind Pollard.
In a very defense-minded draft class, the pressure is on the Cowboys to hit on their offensive picks so far. Tight end Luke Schoonmaker, tackle Asim Richards, and now Vaughn make up these picks. Anyone selling Vaughn as merely a feel-good pick late in the draft for a Cowboys team that likes their family connections throughout the organization is in for a pleasant surprise when watching this scatback out of Kansas State.
Again looking at NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein’s report on Vaughn, he’s quick to point out that Vaughn is quick to find the endzone, something the Cowboys need to do more of in support of a stellar defense. If Vaughn does find the end zone at any point in his rookie season, there’s no doubt it will be a special moment in Dallas.
However, he sees the field clearly, is fearless between the tackles, possesses quality contact balance and finds his way into the end zone as a runner and receiver. Vaughn has an uphill climb ahead of him, but his history of consistent, high-end production makes the climb to success seem achievable.
With this selection, the Cowboys have just one pick remaining at 244th overall in the seventh round.