The 2020 NFL Draft was one heck of a ride for the SEC as a whole including the Commodore faithful and the city of Nashville. This past weekend brought lots of much needed excitement across the board and displayed a nice escape for sports fans across America. The SEC led all conferences in draft picks with 63, falling short of last years record by one.
Vanderbilt, specifically, contributed in only one of those picks which was star RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn. This draft was a disappointment regarding some of the latest mock drafts for players like WR Kalija Lipscomb and TE Jared Pinkney who went undrafted. Pinkney and Lipscomb are likely questioning why they decided to come back for another year after seeing themselves go undrafted.
Specifically, Pinkney was considered a 1st or 2nd round talent according to many mock drafts before falling miserably due to his lack of production and effort on the field last season. It seemed as if Pinkney and Lipscomb were checked out at times due to the horrific play calling and simply not topuching the ball. Lipscomb was projected as a late round prospect after his breakout Junior season. Meanwhile, the stats show the miserable decrease in production after losing QB Kyle Shurmur.
Both of these players likely lost a huge chunk of money and value due to disappointing Senior seasons on West End. All the blame should not be put on their shoulders for the rough season but, Coach Mason and his staff hope they did enough for the two to have productive NFL careers.
Now, let’s take a closer look at where each of the Commodores landed in the NFL this weekend:
Ke’Shawn Vaughn: The Nashville native was selected in the 3rd round (76th overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This is definitely an interesting pick for the Bucs as Vaughn was projected as a Day 3 prospect by most mock drafts but, it seems like Tampa found their guy at RB. This is an excellent fit for Vaughn due to playing under Bruce Arians who will increase his chances of seeing more action. Vaughn will most likely begin splitting time with Ronald Jones and will battle for the starting role.
Although many consider it a stretch, I believe it’s a wonderful destination for Ke’Shawn to be in his rookie season in the NFL. Vaughn and the Buccaneers should receive plenty of national attention especially after landing superstars Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. After watching Ke’Shawn’s highlights, the fans in Tampa are calling him “Long Gone Vaughn” and are ready to see him arrive in the Sunshine State. Commodore Nation is proud that Ke’Shawn found a home in Tampa and for representing Vanderbilt and the City of Nashville.
Kalija Lipscomb: The New Orleans native signed an UDFA contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. Unfortunately, Lipscomb was not selected in the Draft but, hopefully he finds a role with the Chiefs Organization. He will likely be on the practice squad due to the loaded receiver room in Kansas City but, he could also find himself playing on special teams. On the bright side, Kalija will reunite with former teammate Kyle Shurmur in Kansas City. Commodore Nation hopes to see some familiar hookups with Kyle to Kalija in the preseason this fall.
Jared Pinkney: The Norcross, GA native signed an UDFA deal with his hometown Atlanta Falcons. Pinkney will likely battle for a backup TE spot behind Hayden Hurst who was recently acquired from Baltimore. He should also find himself taking reps in special teams as he’s very versatile for a TE. Hopefully Jared will make the most of his opportunity and see as much action as he can in his rookie season in Atlanta.
Riley Neal: The Muncie, IN native was the first former Commodore to sign an UDFA contract. The Denver Broncos liked what they saw and offered him a deal. This was the expected route for the Vanderbilt QB after a rough 2019 campaign. Neal is likely looking at a QB3 spot behind Drew Lock and Jeff Driskel which would put him on the Denver practice squad. Hopefully Riley can learn and develop with the already young Denver QB’s and have a successful start to his NFL career.
Justice Shelton-Mosley: The Sacramento native signed an UDFA deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, joining Shurmur and Lipscomb. This is a good opportunity for Justice as he tries to maneuver and find an NFL home. Mosley will be in the same boat as Lipscomb as Kansas City has a loaded WR room. Commodore Nation hopes Justice can jell and find a role with the Chiefs organization and start his Pro career with a bang.
These are all of the Commodores signed so far and we will update if there is any more in the near future. Commodore Nation lets congratulate our fellow Commodores on their new homes in the NFL this weekend!