Most Underrated Player: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2020 MUPOT
By: Connor Smith
As you have seen on the website we are all writing about a certain team’s MUPOT or Most Underrated Player On Team. This week I have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A team that started a QB who threw 30 TD’s and INT’s gained the best quarterback of all time and a new tight end. The Buccaneers have gotten much better. They have two top 7 WR’s, Gronk and another historically talented Tight End in O.J. Howard. They even have two quality running backs.
The Buccaneers have a lot of talent. Brady is going to have a fun time using all of it with a relatively quality O-line. I considered O.J. Howard but I just am not sure he will get as many touches and after last year's 29th TE performance I don’t like him as much as I used to. Neither of their top receivers of Chris Godwin or Mike Evans are underrated even though so far both are going lower than I personally think they should. Past that their receiving core is not great other than Tyler Johnson and I don’t think Johnson will see the field much this year. Everything said, I’m going with Ke’Shawn Vaughn for Tampa’s 2020 MUPOT.
The Bucc’s spent the entire offseason telling everyone that Ronald Jones was their guy. Then they took a running back in the 3rd round who slots in above him and is a guy I’ve covered before and actually said would fit very well in Tampa Bay. If you don’t know Ke’Shawn Vaughn well, allow me to introduce you to a mega-talented athlete who was forced to run in an offense that didn’t help him at all and still achieved big things. Ke’Shawn was picked in the 3rd round out of The University of Vanderbilt. He transferred there in 2018 and over two years ran for 2,272 yards and 21 touchdowns. Those are both top 5 marks in the school's history. Let me explain to you how bad the help around him was. Ke’Shawn was running behind the statistically worst offensive line in the SEC. He was behind an atrocious O-line in the college conference that punishes teams for such mistakes the most. He turned that into a 6.4 yards per rush average. Ke’Shawn is being talked about as an underdog, unknown OROY candidate!
Right now, Ke’shawn Vaughn is going as the 35th running back off the board according to Fantasypros.com. That puts him behind guys like Davis Montgomery and Devin Singletary. Both are talented guys but both underperformed last year and are both trapped in systems that either doesn’t help them or doesn’t fit them. Think about this for a second, Tom Brady is known for his targets to running backs and having a bigger running back that runs for touchdowns. Now realize that Ke’Shawn Vaughn is the bigger of the two between him and Ronald Jones. On top of that, he is by far a better receiver than Jones. When I wrote about him for a draft review here on the site this year I was amazed watching him. He is a good athlete, he can be stiff but he has no problem running in the middle but would always rather run outside. Here’s the interesting thing, the main problem with him wasn’t something with his game. The main con I found with Ke’Shawn was the fact that his attitude was noticeable sometimes. Think about that, his biggest flaw was his attitude and his QB for his rookie year is going to be freaking Tom Brady. There is no way that Brady allows him to have a bad attitude. The reason Vaughn’s attitude was seen as bad is because he was forced to deal with no help. Vaughn is the best running back on that roster and everyone knows that. He’s going behind guys like Singletary and Montgomery who don’t even catch passes at an average rate. Ke’Shawn was an above average receiver in college and is now paired with Tom Brady.
Ke’Shawn’s outlook is good, not perfect but very good. I’m thinking he receives around 40-50 targets and catches 30-40 of them for somewhere around 7-10 a reception. He should also get more than enough chances in rushes to reach around 1000 yards. I’m not sure he will get there and I'd expect somewhere around 600-900 yards rushing.
Tampa will be good. Assuming Tom Brady doesn’t fall off of a cliff they will be good. They have a bunch of talent on offense and assuming Shaq Barrett (shoutout CSU) signs the franchise tag or is signed long term then their defense will be relatively good as well. We’ve watched Tom Brady use his running backs and make them all great PPR players. Ke’Shawn should be no different. He can catch passes and he’s a better inside runner than Ronald Jones is. I'm very excited because I got him in our writers league super late. Excited to see how well he plays.