Updating a previous report, the Buccaneers have not activated Vaughn (illness) from the reserve/COVID-19 list, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports.
Vaughn's start to training camp has been delayed due to either a positive COVID test or exposure to someone who did before he reported to the Bucs. The team isn't allowed to disclose which is the case, but the rookie third-round pick now is on Day 12 of his stay on the list. Whenever he's able to join his teammates, Vaughn may have an uphill climb to reps following the addition of veteran LeSean McCoy to a backfield with Ronald Jones at the top of the depth chart.
The Buccaneers activated Vaughn (illness) from the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports.
Teams can't reveal the reason for a player being placed on the COVID list, but Vaughn spent the first week and a half going through the necessary protocols to be able to join his teammates. His context within the backfield changed, too, when LeSean McCoy joined the Bucs last Thursday, potentially pushing the rookie third-round pick down the depth chart. Ronald Jones is expected to lead Tampa Bay's backfield this season, but the pass-catching role in a Tom Brady-helmed offense is up for grabs and one that Vaughn may handle if he shows well in training camp.
Vaughn has been placed on the Buccaneers' reserve/COVID-19 list, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports.
As Auman notes, the list "can reflect a positive test or close contact with someone who has, requiring quarantine." The Buccaneers selected Vaughn in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and the running back is viewed as a candidate to see a key complementary role in the team's backfield this coming season in tandem with returnee Ronald Jones.
Vaughn is expected to enjoy a robust and diverse role during his rookie season despite the presence of Ronald Jones, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports. "The idea is to get him here and see what he does best," Buccaneers general manger Jason Licht said of Vaughn. "We know that he's got good speed. We know that he can catch the ball. We know that he's good in space - he's been very productive there. I think he's capable of playing on all three downs so you can't have too many good backs."
The third-round pick out of Vanderbilt arrives in Tampa with an impressive body of work over his last two college seasons, a stretch during which he demonstrated a knack for breaking off long runs and showed reliable hands. Vaughn should provide an upgrade over Peyton Barber in terms of complementing Jones, as Barber averaged an unspectacular 3.9 yards per carry or less over each of the last three seasons. Vaughn could slide into a role that affords him somewhere in the neighborhood of the 150 carries the now-departed Barber logged last season, at a minimum. Moreover, if Vaughn proves trustworthy as an outlet option out of the backfield, Smith speculates that he could become the primary third-down back and serve in a function similar to that of James White during his time alongside new Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady in New England.
The Buccaneers selected Vaughn in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, 76th overall.
Running back was a need for the Buccaneers and they were able to address it late on Day 2. Vaughn comes to the NFL from Vanderbilt, where he had a productive career for the Commodores. He ran for over 1,000 yards in each of his last two seasons, highlighted by his 2018 campaign in which he racked up 1,244 yards on 7.9 YPC. Vaughn isn't a standout athlete -- he ran a 4.51 in the 40-yard dash and was average to below-average in the jumps. Still he has plenty of juice when he's on the field and with Tampa Bay's weak running back depth chart, he should find his way into the carry rotation as a rookie.