Cowboys News: Dak Prescott hypes up Deuce Vaughn, Tyler Smith ready for second year leap

Dec 31, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kansas State Wildcats running back Deuce Vaughn (22) runs the
Dec 31, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kansas State Wildcats running back Deuce Vaughn (22) runs the / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys offense could look a lot different in 2023.

Not only is Mike McCarthy replacing Kellen Moore as the chief play-caller, but Dak Prescott (finally) has an established No. 2 receiver in Brandin Cooks and a new starting running back in Tony Pollard, who steps in for Ezekiel Elliott.

With so many mouths to feed, fans are eager to know how Deuce Vaughn will be utilized. Some analysts believe Vaughn will be hard-pressed to make the 53-man roster, but it's difficult to envision the Cowboys cutting a player who tore up some of college football's finest defenses over his three years in Manhattan.

Given his slight 5-foot-6, 176-pound frame, the odds are stacked against Vaughn to carve out a respectable role on such a talented offense.

Of course, Vaughn has overcome long odds for most of his playing career. And if there's someone who knows a thing or two about exceeding expectations in year one as a late draft pick, it's 2016 fourth-round pick Dak Prescott.

During an appearance on KTCK-AM in Dallas, Prescott raved about Vaughn's talent and believes he'll make an instant impact as a rookie.

Dak Prescott is a big believer in Cowboys rookie Deuce Vaughn

"Excited," Prescott said of his initial thoughts on the Vaughn pick. "That was one that you do get excited about when you see that story. Understanding going into it knowing who he was, knowing his dad, thinking how cool that would be if you could make that happen."

Prescott admitted he isn't glued to his seat for every pick of the NFL Draft, but he was well aware of Vaughn's slide and that he was available for the Cowboys when it was their turn to pick at No. 212 overall in the sixth round.

"I did pay attention enough that he was there in the (sixth) round or something, was like how is he still there? Seeing that, seeing that reaction, just knowing how great of a guy Chris, who is the father, is. I’m excited about Deuce being in there. I think he’s going to be a very talented player who can help us immediately.”

Vaughn will have to prove himself to Prescott and the rest of the veterans on the roster, but he certainly has the credentials of an impact player as the second-leading rusher in Kansas State history and a unanimous All-American selection last year.

One young player who likely earned Prescott's trust as a rookie in Tyler Smith, who exceeded expectations filling in at left tackle for Tyron Smith. Like any rookie lineman, Smith took his lumps, but everyone associated with the Cowboys firmly believes he has the potential to become one of the most talented offensive lineman in the league regardless of position.

Smith's comments entering year two will only solidify those beliefs.

“After getting that first year under my belt, I understand what the expectation is,” Smith said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I’ve gone through camp, OTAs, I’ve been through the season before. Being comfortable and acclimated to what I need to do has helped me a lot — in terms of being confident and who I am. That first year was kind of nervous. Everything was new. Going to a new locker room and some of the guys are like 30, 34. I’m was used to being in a locker room with 18-23-year-olds. Getting acclimated with the guys helped me a lot.”

To think Smith performed as well as he did (at two positions!) despite having to navigate all the hurdles that come with being a rookie is wildly impressive.

It's unclear where the 22-year-old will start come Week 1, but it's a testament to his talent that Cowboys fans have expressed hardly any concern about how he'll perform.

Probably because he's due to make a huge leap in year two.

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