(Editor's Note: Over the next month, the staff of DallasCowboys.com is looking to answer the 20 biggest questions facing the team heading into the 2023 season. Today, the staff writers continue the series by discussing the role of Deuce Vaughn.)
18) What Role Do We Expect For Deuce Vaughn?
Patrik Walker: Yes. All jokes aside, Vaughn presents a very intriguing option for a Cowboys offense that is now designed to capitalize on the versatility of its skill players. That means while it's easy to view the rookie as an ankle-breaker in space, which will garner him targets out of the backfield and quick tosses (and the like) to iso him against linebackers, don't forget he's also capable of being a short-yardage threat due to his size. His collegiate film showed Vaughn often squeaking through the group of trees on critical third downs and on the goal line.
Kyle Youmans: No doubt about it, Vaughn brings a diverse skillset to a room that could use it. His cutting ability and vision with the football could allow for usage in the screen game and on special teams immediately. He'll also have every opportunity to compete for the second and third running back spots on the roster, making him active on gameday. His abilities give him a leg up on the other reserve running backs, but his size will be a question mark entering his first NFL season. Can he stand up to an entire season of punishment at the next level? Especially with extra snaps?
Nick Eatman: We've done this 20 Questions series for a while now. Can't say I can recall a question before training camp about a sixth-round pick. That alone, just tells you that we all expect something from Deuce. It's going to be fun to see what the Cowboys come up with and what he's capable of doing. More than anything, I want to see how they figure out a role for both Deuce and KaVontae Turpin. But I'm all for it because the one thing that stands out the most in last year's loss to the 49ers was the lack of playmakers. We'll find out if Deuce can be one of them, but I have a feeling he'll be a third-down back at times and someone who can line up in the slot, plus an occasional kick-return specialist.
Mickey Spagnola: Deuce will decide much of that, how quickly he adapts to the NFL game. But for starters, they will give him a chance to earn some kickoff return reps. After that, will try to create some offensive specialty plays for Deuce in the backfield, and maybe even lining up in the slot as a fourth receiver. Could also see the Cowboys designing some plays with both Tony Pollard and Deuce on the field at the same time. That would be a whole lot of speed in the backfield at the same time and would create matchup problems since either one's capable of going in motion as a receiver, to grab a quick pitch to the outside with the other guy going the other way or one lining up in the slot to come around for a sweep. But for any or all of this to work, they will have to keep defenses honest by simply handing him the ball between the tackles. Sure seems like a great offensive toy to have, creating limitless creativity for Mike McCarthy and Brian Shottenheimer.