4 Boom or Bust prospects the Cleveland Browns could draft in 2023

Sep 30, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA;  Houston Cougars offensive lineman Tank Jenkins (72) hoists wide
Sep 30, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars offensive lineman Tank Jenkins (72) hoists wide / Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
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Browns Boom or Bust prospect No. 2: Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State

Deuce Vaughn is a running back that is super easy to root for. Vaughn might also have some of the funnest tape to watch in all of college football. But the same reason that you root for him and that also makes his tape enjoyable to watch both come from the same issue: Vaughn’s diminutive size.

Deuce Vaughn is 5-foot-5 and 179 lbs. That is not a typo. To put it in perspective from an NFL angle, the smallest running back in recent NFL history was Darren Sproles, who was one-inch taller and 15 pounds heavier than Vaughn. It should also be pointed out that Sproles was a severe outlier with his size and the amount of success he had in the NFL.

So, Vaughn is an outlier physically, and that much can not be debated. But what can Vaughn do at the next level to negate his physical dimensions? Well, Vaughn is a walking mismatch coming out of the backfield as a pass catcher. The basic stuff like screens and swing passes are easy for Vaughn, but it is the more detailed routes like the wheel route and the Texas/angle routes that should make offensive coordinators happy to land a running back with his versatility.

Vaughn is not just limited to passing down work either. He is effective in running outside zone schemes and works well out of shotgun sets. Vaughn is able to utilize his lack of size to find creases at the line of scrimmage and rarely gets squared up at the second level. If you let Vaughn get to the third level...he's already gone.

But, at the end of the day, it's a gamble whether or not a running back of Vaughn’s size can hold up in the NFL. If it does, you could end up with a versatile weapon that provides an instant mismatch in the passing game. If it doesn't work, you wasted a draft pick on an extreme outlier, which is something that risk-adverse front offices like the Browns tend to stay away from. Either way, I am rooting for Vaughn.