2020 NFL Draft: Ke’Shawn Vaughn set to take on Ronald Jones in pivotal position battle for Buccaneers

There’s been no more interesting team this offseason than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and that intrigue only increased with their selection of Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the third round. It doesn’t match up to the hype surrounding Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, but it’s exciting no less. Vaughn is an experienced back who will compete immediately with Ronald Jones and Dare Ogunbowale for touches in the backfield. The winner of this competition, if there is one winner, could be a Fantasy monster.

As a prospect, Vaughn could be described as a jack of all trades but master of none. He can run between the tackles, he can work in the passing game, he can pick up in protection. He’s fast enough, but not a burner. He had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at Vanderbilt but he’ll turn 23 years old before the NFL season starts. In fact, he’s three months older than Jones, who is entering his third season. 

Vaughn’s ability in multiple areas is not a bad thing. In fact, it could land him a feature role for a year or two. It’s also not to say there’s nothing elite about his profile. In 2018 he averaged 7.9 yards per carry across 157 carries. There’s some upside there. It’s just hard to imagine Vaughn turning into a top-12 Fantasy back for multiple years, even in the best of situations. 

As for 2020, I’d install Ronald Jones as small favorite to start Week 1 if only because of the abbreviated offseason. The nice thing for Vaughn is that he has two chances to forge a role in this offense. I don’t believe Jones will get a three-down role, so if Vaughn loses out on the early-down role he could still beat Ogunbowale out to the third-down back. 

In redraft I’d take Vaughn around Round 8 assuming your draft happens before he ascends the depth chart. By August, Vaughn could be installed as the No. 1 back and vault into the fourth round of drafts. If Bruce Arians is also praising his third down work, Vaughn could go even higher. 

In Dynasty, Vaughn’s upside isn’t close to the top-five backs and he’s no more than a second round pick. In a Dynasty startup, his value isn’t much different than it is in redraft. Vaughn’s best opportunity to become a Fantasy starter is to beat out Jones in 2020. If he doesn’t do that, every competition he faces after that has the prospect of being more difficult. 

As for Jones, this is a ding to him in both redraft and Dynasty, but ultimately his value is still likely to be determined by him. If he reaches his ceiling in his third year, Vaughn is not taking the job away from him. Like Vaughn, Jones is a back you take as a backup and hope his upside hits. Until we see a depth chart I camp you can draft any Tampa backs as starters.

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