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2023 NFL Draft Profile: Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn

Could Sean Payton view Deuce Vaughn as the next Darren Sproles?

NCAA Football: Big 12 Football Championship-Texas Christian at Kansas State Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

One prospect who may interest the Denver Broncos on day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft is former Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn. He is a 5’5”, 179-pound running back who was among the nation's more productive running backs during his college career. He is expected to be selected on day three of the draft.

During his three-year career at Kansas State, Vaughn was a very productive runner and pass catcher. He totaled 651 carries for 3,604 yards and 34 rushing touchdowns. He also had 116 career receptions for 1,280 yards and 9 career receiving touchdowns. This past season, Vaughn totaled 293 carries for 1,558 yards and 9 rushing touchdowns and added an additional 42 receptions for 378 yards and 3 touchdowns. During the 2021 season, Vaughn had 22 combined touchdowns, 18 on the ground, and 4 as a pass catcher, so he has a nose for the end zone.

Player Profile

Height: 5’5” | Weight: 179 pounds | 40-time: 4.46 (Pro Day)

Arm Length: 27 3/4” | Hands: 9 1/2”

Vertical Jump: 35.5 inches | Broad Jump: 9’8” | Bench Press: 17 reps

Film Room

Scouting Report


  • Very productive runner and receiver in college
  • Productive against top-ranked teams including Alabama
  • Incredibly quick feet
  • Makes defenders miss in the open field
  • Has top end speed to outrun defenders
  • Keeps a low center of gravity and has good contact balance
  • He plays much bigger than his size
  • Fearless in between the tackles and avoids taking the big hit
  • Durable and a workhorse running back
  • Displays good vision while running and finds the openings in the defense
  • Capable route runner who can split out wide if asked
  • A very competitive and tough player


  • Obviously, his size will be a concern at the next level
  • Willing pass blocker but not something he should be doing consistently
  • Needs to be used correctly to make it in the NFL

What other analysts are saying about Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn

Vaughn’s playing style is similar to that of former NFL running back Jacquizz Rodgers, but Rodgers was much heavier than Vaughn at a similar height. Despite the versatility, production and durability, teams might focus on his lack of size. However, he sees the field clearly, is fearless between the tackles, possesses quality contact balance and finds his way into the end zone as a runner and receiver. Vaughn has an uphill climb ahead of him, but his history of consistent, high-end production makes the climb to success seem achievable. -’s Lance Zierlein

Deuce Vaughn is a running back in Kansas State’s balanced gap/zone-run system. He played in 37 games over his 3 seasons, essentially starting full time his last 2 seasons. In high school, he also lettered 3 years in track & field. While he’s small in stature, he makes up for it in athletic ability and quickness. His height, or lack thereof, allows him to keep a low center of gravity. He may not have the size to power through defenders, but he competes and plays extremely tough in anything he’s asked to do.- SIS

Final Thoughts

I get Darren Sproles vibes from Vaughn and we saw how effectively Sean Payton used him in New Orleans. He never had more than 87 carries in a season with Payton but saw over 90 targets per season in the passing game during his three seasons with him and that is how I would expect Payton to use Vaughn if drafted.

I understand his size is a hurdle, but he was very productive against ranked teams who have multiple NFL-caliber players on their roster. He topped 130 yards rushing against TCU and Alabama to close out his college career.

He would give the Broncos' backfield some speed and versatility to go with their power backs they currently have. He can be used as an explosive runner but I think he would do most of his damage in the passing game. He has quick feet, is an explosive runner, and has the route-running ability to thrive in that role with the right coach and scheme. Using him in the screen game, wheel routes, or just in the open field could lead to some big gains.

He is a day-three pick in all likelihood and one prospect I would not be upset if the Broncos added in the draft. Especially with Head Coach Sean Payton leading the offense moving forward.