STRENGTHS: Thickly-put-together with broad shoulders and the physical ingredients needed for the next level. Quick first step and converts speed to power, attacking blockers and driving them into the pocket. Forceful hands at the point of attack. Physical striker, wrapping and continuing his momentum through his target. Nice job sealing the edge and leveraging blocks with his upper body strength. Nice recognition to adjust well on the move and pick up reads quickly. Will drop in zone coverage. Coachable and not taking plays off with a love for football. Lined up mostly standing up as an outside linebacker in Stanford's 3-4 scheme, but occasionally put his hand on the ground as a left end. Also has special teams experience on kickoff coverage. Good starting experience (31 career starts).
WEAKNESSES: Tightly wound with rigid torso flexibility. Lacks suddenness and range in space with only average athleticism, struggling to change directions on the move. Often a step behind, trailing the play. Has a tough time playing sticky coverage with backs and tight ends. Inconsistent breaking down in space, losing balance in motion and not finishing. Doesn't play with the same violence from snap-to-snap. Below average ball awareness and undisciplined eye use, biting on fakes and not staying with the ball. Body type looks maxed out and functional length is lacking. Too many late hit penalties on his career docket and needs to play smarter.
A linebacker with experience inside, outside and with his hand on the ground, Vaughters lacks ideal athleticism and fluidity, but limits the mental mistakes and makes plays with power and hustle. Although he packs a punch with a strong upper body, his lower body flexibility and speed limit his range and ability to break down in space and consistently finish. Vaughters does a nice job making plays that come to him, but won't create production on his own and will have to show he can stand out on special teams to stick on a NFL roster.
Vaughters narrowed his college choices to Ohio State, Georgia Tech and Stanford out of high school, choosing Jim Harbaugh and the Cardinal. After serving as a true freshman back-up, he started four games at inside linebacker in 2012 with 26 tackles. Vaughters became a full-time starting outside linebacker as a junior and started the last 27 games for Stanford, finishing third on the team in tackles for loss (11.0) and sacks (6.5) as a senior in 2014.
07/30/2014 - 2014 PRESEASON BUTKUS AWARD WATCH LIST: James Vaughters, Stanford...Vaughters makes his first career watch list. Hailing from Stone Mountain, Ga., the 6 foot 2, 254 pound outside linebacker is among the most physically talented players on the list. Playing alongside Tarpley and 2013 All-Americans Skov and Murphy, Vaughters played solidly with 36 tackles (19 solo), 6.0 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He appeared in all 14 games with a career-high seven tackles in a win at Army. Vaughters has started 18 career games. - Stanford football