For Defense’s Success, Vaughn Might Be as Crucial as Von

Cassius Vaughn

VAUGHN: ... workouts with Brian Dawkins made an impact.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – When a Broncos fan says, “Von,” he or she is referring to one of the most crucial players on the defense.

Of course, they could mean “Vaughn” and be just as correct.

Their names are what linguists would call “homophones” — same pronunciation, different spelling, different meaning. But on passing downs, what Von Miller does could end up forcing a pass into Cassius Vaughn’s territory, and whether the second-year cornerback can react fast enough could determine the eventual success or failure of the series.

Vaughn’s rise to first-team nickelback has been one of the quieter Broncos stories of the last month, but one of the more important ones. In a three-way competition among second-year cornerbacks Vaughn, Syd’Quan Thompson and Perrish Cox, the undrafted Vaughn proved the steadiest, most reliable option.

For this, he credits the work he was able to do at the Brian Dawkins-led workouts while the lockout lingered. The sessions kept Vaughn on a schedule, which he feels made the difference in his training-camp work.

“Brian Dawkins and Joe Mays were probably the biggest factors in me becoming the player that I am now,” Vaughn said, “because they gave me the work ethic, they gave me a lot of pointers and they made me grow over the summer with the lockout happening.

“Then when we came into camp, Brian was like, ‘Hey, we’ve run these gassers; we’ve gone through these plays; we’ve done this and did that.’ It was just more of an inside thing for us and it affected my play a lot.”

While the work wasn’t always as extensive as the canceled organized team activities, the accountability was.

“It wasn’t mandatory, but it was mandatory, and that’s what built up our confidence in everybody that was there,” Vaughn said. “It’s a true statement that hard work pays off.”

Hard work has gotten him the opportunity. Performance will now determine how long it lasts.

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About Andrew Mason

Andrew Mason has covered the NFL since 1999, when he worked as an editor on when the site was managed by He worked six seasons (2002-07) covering the Broncos on their official website and two (2008-09) on the Panthers' site. He began in 2010 and now contributes to, The Sporting News and The New York Times.
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7 Responses

  1. Although Josh McDaniels made some very questionable draft day decisions, e.g., the majority of the 2009 Draft and trading back into the first round to take Tim Tebow in 2010, he must be given credit for some of his undrafted rookie finds in Vaughn and Kyle McCarthy. To me Vaughn is what the Broncos expected to get out of Karl Paymah when they took him with a third round pick in the 2005 Draft. They look similar. Paymah is 6’0″, 195 lbs., and Vaughn is 5’11″, 195 lbs. Heck, they even wear the same number 41. Paymah, however, was never the player in Denver he could have been and has since bounced around the league while Vaughn has been an absolute find. Vaughn’s top end speed is what makes him most dangerous. He makes plays on special teams–two fumble recoveries and a kick return for a touchdown last season. I hope he finds a way to keep making such big plays as he gets increased playing time in the Broncos’ secondary this season.

  2. You credit McDanials for Vaughn and other late-round pics. It is my guess that josh was concerned with rounds 1-3 and left rounds 4-6 and UFAs to Xanders.

  3. mason please keep up the good work I get all my Broncos news right hear.

  4. also I would love it if you would join my Forum . I would also be intrested in you doing a blog for my site

  5. This is my first time on this site. I followed RSH over from being battered around on another site. I don’t talk much but will read it all. I started bloging when the Shanny thing happened, and I think I remember your name from back then on the Bronco site.??

  6. this is the best denver wrighter ever Papa Pete it is not even close .yep you are right by the way.

  7. this is the best denver wrighter ever Papa Pete it is not even close .yep you are right by the way Wish they would of keept him . Hope we still get to keep him .

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