2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Deuce Vaughn

  • Deuce Vaughn, 5-6/176

  • Running Back

  • Kansas State

  • Deuce Vaughn Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Instinctive, decisive runner
  • Incredible elusiveness
  • Fantastic feet to cut, dodge, juke, weave around tacklers
  • Tremendous moves in the open field
  • Rare cutting ability
  • Fast
  • Acceleration
  • Quick first-step to hit the hole
  • Second gear in the open field
  • Threat to rip off a long touchdown on any carry
  • Good vision
  • Anticipation
  • Knee bend
  • Runs behind his pads
  • Tough
  • Hard for defenders to see
  • Pure football player
  • Dynamic receiving skills
  • Dangerous route-runner
  • Mismatch receiver
  • Soft hands
  • Catches with his hands
  • Third-down weapon

  • Weaknesses:
  • Extremely small
  • Could struggle to create lots of yards after contact in the NFL
  • Very short
  • Lacks length
  • Low weight
  • Frame could be maxed out
  • Can he hold up and avoid injury as a pro?

  • Summary: While Bijan Robinson was the best back in the Big XII for the last two years, Kansas State’s Deuce Vaughn, a much smaller back, was a prolific runner who also dominated the conference. In 2021, Vaughn averaged 6.0 yards per carry for 1,404 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also caught 49 yards for 468 yards and four touchdowns. In 2022, Vaughn averaged 5.3 yards per carry for 1,558 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had 42 receptions for 378 yards and three touchdowns. Vaughn was a tremendous running back for the Wildcats and one of the most electric players in college football.

    Vaughn is an underrated weapon for the NFL. With football running through his blood having grown up as the son of a coach and Dallas Cowboys’ scout, Vaughn has tremendous instincts and natural feel. He seems like he is a step ahead of the defense, displaying great anticipation. Vaughn is a slashing back who is real threat to rip off a big gain anytime he touches the ball. He has a first-step burst and accelerates through the hole with a second gear to explode downfield for long gains. Once, Vaughn breaks into the open field, he has the speed to run away from the defense, which was put on full display when he smoked the Alabama defense at the end of the 2022 season.

    What makes Vaughn deadly is his incredible elusiveness. He has tremendous juke, stop-start, cut-back skills, as long as natural instincts, to dodge tacklers in the open field. Vaughn has rare elusiveness and change-of-direction ability. While he is small, when Vaughn is running behind the line, his size can work to his advantage because defenders have a hard time spotting him. His lack of height makes him dangerous on cut backs since defenders can be late to redirect.

    In the passing game, Vaughn is a valuable contributor. That is part of why he racked up a total of 91 receptions over the past two seasons. He is an excellent route-runner out of the backfield, and his shiftiness is very difficult to defend in the open field. His cutting ability and sudden burst combine to create separation from linebackers, plus allow him to gain yards after the catch. Vaughn is dangerous in space once he gets the ball in his hands as he weaves through defenders with his elusiveness. In the NFL, Vaughn should be a real weapon for the passing game on wheel routes, screens, and check downs. He is very small, but he is a football player and a much better blocker than one would expect.

    Vaughn lacks the size to be a three-down starter as a pro. For the NFL, he will have to be a backup change-of-pace back, but he could be a dynamic weapon who overachieves and takes on a bigger role than anybody expects. Vaughn is simply a pure football player who plays with real heart. Given his speed and devastating elusiveness, he could be a dynamic No. 2 back and receiving weapon out of the backfield.

    In the 2023 NFL Draft, Vaughn looks like a potential mid-round pick. Multiple team sources said they think he could end up going in Round 4.

    Player Comparison: Darren Sproles. From a skill-set perspective, Sproles and Vaughn compare rather well. Some scouts say Vaughn is similar to Sproles, another Kansas State legend. For the Wildcats, both were playmakers who were very small but had game-breaking speed, elusiveness and toughness, plus were dynamic receivers. If Vaughn pans out in the NFL, I think he could be a running back similar to Sproles.


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