2. How does Deuce Vaughn contribute in year one?
Vaughn is one of the smallest backs in NFL history. He’s played against Big 12 defenses the last three seasons. Despite the excitement around the pick — which isn’t unwarranted — it’s unfair to expect anything resembling a key role for Deuce in 2023.
This being said, there’s plenty of ways he can immediately contribute. John Fassel has already said he wants to see Vaughn as a protector on punt and as a potential option as returner. Even if his offensive role is minute, we’ll likely see Vaughn on special teams in some capacity.
When thinking about a possible 2023 offensive role, think more along the lines of Lance Dunbar or Lucky Whitehead than a younger Pollard. Vaughn’s contribution will come as a gadget piece and a weapon outside the hashes in space. He’s best when his small and shifty frame can cause problems for a defense’s back seven.
Pollard burst onto the scene in 2019 as a true between-the-tackles runner. Vaughn very likely will not do the same. Those carries may come as the year progresses, but there are other backs more suited for that role while Vaughn acclimates to the NFL.