Vanderbilt Commodores running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn could give the Tennessee Titans what they are looking for in a backup running back.
The Tennessee Titans have a big offseason ahead on the offensive side of the ball. First, it is the end of an era as former second overall pick, Marcus Mariota, is set to leave in free agency. Second, it is the start of a new era as two big free agents are looking to stay in Tennessee.
One of them is running back, Derrick Henry. Henry wants to be in Tennessee to continue where he left off in 2019 when he had a career year with 1,540 yards and 16 touchdowns, winning the NFL rushing title.
Despite the baffling controversy about whether the Titans should pay the man, it is obvious they should and will. The offense revolves around the 6’3″ 238-pound running back, so why let him walk?
Instead, the Titans could possibly let backup running back Dion Lewis go. Lewis has 54 carries, 209 yards, 25 receptions, 125 yards, and one lone touchdown as a Titan. Releasing the 29-year-old running back would save the Titans $4M in cap space.
So that leaves the question if Lewis becomes cap casualty, who should the Titans target as Henry’s next backup? Don’t look too far, just right up the road at Vanderbilt’s Ke’Shawn Vaughn.
Vaughn went to high school at Pearl-Cohn in Nashville, Tennessee. He committed to Illinois out of High School, and played there for the 2015 and 2016 season then transferred back home to play for the Commodores.
Vaughn revitalized his career with the Commodores. In his first season with them, he had 1,244 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns despite injuries; both are more than what he did in two seasons in Illinois combined. He won SEC Newcomer of the Year that season.
As a senior, Vaughn did not slow down. His nine touchdowns he earned that season is tied for the sixth-most in program history. His 21 total rushing touchdowns is third all-time for Vanderbilt. I could go on forever because his list of accomplishments is insane, as you can see here.
He had 2,712 scrimmage yards and 24 scrimmage touchdowns in his two-year career with Vanderbilt, and proved to be a consistent running and receiving back in the tough SEC.
A running back’s life span in the NFL is very short; we all know that. So, drafting Vaughn would do two things: give Henry a solid backup that can do damage both on the ground and through the air, and once Henry reaches the end of the road, Vaughn could be the next man up in Tennessee.