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Draft Central | 2023

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Inside Saturday's Emotions from the Vaughn Family


FRISCO, Texas — For the Vaughn family, no hour was longer than the final one.

At approximately 3:45 p.m., Chris Vaughn, the assistant director of scouting for the Dallas Cowboys, gets a call from a disappointed son in Deuce Vaughn who is starting to question if his name will come off the board as the sixth round powers on.

The elder Vaughn, who had been keeping the lines of communication with his son very brief for most of the draft, knew this was a time to pick up the phone to comfort his boy.

"He had called me and his voice was cracking up saying that he thinks he might not get drafted, and for the first time I can hear in his voice that, 'my height may have caught up to me. I might not be able to overcome this as far as getting drafted,'" Chris Vaughn said. "He's crying and there's a house full of people, so there's disappointment."

Vaughn works to encourage his son by saying that it doesn't matter where he falls on Saturday, as long as he gets the opportunity to prove all 32 teams wrong when the day comes. Despite his words of encouragement, deep down inside he can't help but feel the pain that his son is feeling just three hours south on I-35 in Austin, wishing he could be there for him.

"I get off the phone with him and I wipe my eyes because now I'm emotional," he said. "And then it segues into our pick coming up and me having to go back in. I go back in and then that's when everything happened. I go from that emotional roller-coaster to Mr. Jones asking me to turn his card in. That emotional swing is something I can't explain."

While Vaughn had to step away to console his ailing son, Jerry Jones and the decision-makers at the end of the table were in the process of pulling the trigger on Chris Vaughn's 5-foot-5 dynamite package of a son. It wasn't something that registered with the long-time scout, even when everyone finally gave in around the room to the moment.

"It was quiet and it didn't register with me, I thought it was a joke that everybody was in on except for me," Vaughn said. "He said, 'you can turn the card in,' and it didn't register. Then it did and all of the emotions came out at that point. It was an emotional time."

For Deuce, his phone rang almost immediately after he got off with his dad from an unknown Dallas area code number. Little did he know, it would be the same person on the other line.

"He just told me that he was proud of me," Deuce Vaughn said. "It was huge because these last four months, talking on the phone at night and having to calm my nerves some nights and him just being there for me and just being a resource. For it to happen like this, it's hard to put into words. I'm going to keep saying it's unreal because it feels unreal right now."

For it to unfold the way it did for the Vaughn family, many things had to fall into place. The Cowboys had to have a use for him in their offense. Check. The running back board had to fall perfectly. Check. The decision had to be made. Check.

When it all came together, it created a special moment that will not only be remembered by the Vaughn family for the rest of time, but also by everybody that turned the Dallas Cowboys war room into a crying chamber on Saturday afternoon.

"That's a big deal right there," Jerry Jones said. "I know y'all probably heard when he got [on the phone], but his voice broke when he called his son and said, 'Son, you're going to be coming to work with me (next week).'"

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