Ex-top level USC Football WR Tyler Vaughns had been off to a slower start to his NFL career before this year, but appears to be off to a good start in 2022. He was signed by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent last year. To make a long story short, he ended up playing on the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad that season.
He is currently on a reserve/future contract for the Steelers for 2022. In the first preseason game this year for Pittsburgh, he hauled in his first target for eight yards. Then, with three seconds left in the contest, he secured his second target for not only a 24-yard gain, but the game winning touchdown.
If anyone was surprised about what Vaughns did right there, they certainly weren't USC fans. USC fans are used to elite performance from TV. Vaughns had an exceptional career for the Trojans, and lived up to the billing of being a five-star recruit.
His best year came in 2019, where he caught 74 passes for 912 yards and six touchdown passes despite competing for targets with Michael Pittman Jr., Drake London, and Amon-Ra St. Brown. To put up the numbers he did with three other elite receivers around him was special. Heck, Velus Jones was on that team too.
Tyler Vaughns is clearly eager to recreate the performance he had with USC football at the pro level.
If Tyler Vaughns continues to perform like this throughout the rest of the preseason, the former USC football star can potentially make the 53-man this year. It won't be easy, but doable if he keeps making highlights like this. He can AT LEAST put himself in position to be one of the practice squad players that are on the verge of being moved up due to potential injury.
And why can't Vaughns at least be one of those insurance players for the Steelers? It's also important to remember that he can succeed in the return game too. Bringing him up provides potential production both on offense and on special teams. Vaughns has ran back a punt return for a touchdown at the college level before. Pittsburgh just has to roll back the tape to see how valuable he can be there.
Besides, Vaughns did well in this preseason game in the kick return that he had, running 27 yards. Continue to give him these chances, and he'll prove that he's an NFL receiver/kick returner. Watch for Vaughns to succeed against another porous defense next week in Jacksonville, and root for him to earn that roster spot.