Dallas Cowboys sleeper rookie turning heads early at training camp

Dallas Cowboys Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Cowboys Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

When NFL training camps roll around, it’s always a great opportunity for unheralded players to climb up the depth chart and make an unexpected impact on their respective rosters. For the Dallas Cowboys, getting players currently on the back end of their roster to come up and make a splash at training camp? That would be a huge bonus to an already-loaded roster.

And it looks like the Cowboys can already fire up the hype train for one of the smallest players on the team — rookie running back Deuce Vaughn.

Deuce Vaughn was picked by the Dallas Cowboys in the sixth round of the 2023 NFL Draft out of Kansas State, and it was one of the most noteworthy selections of Day 3 of this year’s draft. Not just because Vaughn was an outstanding collegiate player, but because his own dad — a scout for the Cowboys — was able to let his son know over the phone from the Cowboys’ war room that he was going to begin his NFL career as a Dallas Cowboy.

What an incredible moment. It could only be followed by Vaughn doing well for the Cowboys, right? Because of his size, Vaughn has been given some comparisons to Darren Sproles. That would obviously represent somewhat of a best-case scenario for a player who stands at only 5-foot-5 and not even 180 pounds.

But his size wasn’t an issue at Kansas State, and he can find a way to contribute at the NFL level as well.

At Kansas State, Vaughn was a two-time All-American who ran for over 1,400 yards in each of the last two seasons with nearly 5,000 yards from scrimmage in his three years at Kansas State. He racked up 43 total touchdowns, including a whopping 22 total touchdowns back in 2021. Vaughn proved he can play on all three downs, catching 91 total passes in each of the last two seasons.

The Cowboys certainly want to see a player like Vaughn get involved in their offense with his speed and explosiveness as a ball-carrier. He’s a playmaker despite his size, and he’s showing some nice things early on at Dallas Cowboys training camp.


This is exactly what Deuce Vaughn has to do to not only crack the Dallas Cowboys roster, but to make his way into the running back rotation somehow. He has to stack days at training camp and prove his value. When the pads come on is when we’re really going to get an idea if this guy is for real at the NFL level. Running backs have to make sure they have an intimate understanding of the offense and blocking concepts when the pads aren’t on so they can be decisive when the proverbial bullets are flying.

Vaughn averaged 5.5 yards per carry in his time at Kansas State, so running between the tackles as well as making plays in space was never a problem for him.

Although there is plenty of worry out there about Vaughn making an impact with his diminutive frame, it could be argued as a major advantage for him as defenders won’t be able to see him behind offensive linemen or other blockers downfield. That’s what Vaughn can exploit defenders with his quickness in space.

This has the potential to be a very exciting addition to the Dallas Cowboys’ offense, and Vaughn will be one of the more interesting rookies to monitor throughout the NFL preseason.