‘Dores in the Pros: Recapping the 2020 NFL Draft 

One Commodore was drafted, four more picked up UDFA deals and all will compete for a chance to shine on Sundays.


Hunter Long

Jared Pinkney caught two touchdowns on Senior Day as Vanderbilt downed ETSU 38-0.

Simon Gibbs, Deputy Sports Editor

The 2020 NFL Draft was, in many regards, the first of its kind. Held via teleconference from April 23-25, it provided viewers with a unique glimpse into the homes and offices of owners, coaches and general managers. It featured highlights—like Cardinals’ owner Kliff Kingsbury’s house, Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel’s kids, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick’s dog and more—that drew people in. The 85th NFL Draft was different. And as evidenced by its astronomical television ratings, people sure liked it being different.

NFL front offices, however, chose not to be different. For the 14th-consecutive year, they stuck to their scripts by selecting more players from the SEC (63) than any other conference. 

Ke’Shawn Vaughn was the only Vanderbilt player selected, despite prospects like Jared Pinkney and Kalija Lipscomb drawing interest. Only Ole Miss had fewer draftees among SEC schools, with zero.

Roughly a week after the Draft kicked off, a few more Commodores were given a shot in the form of an undrafted free agent (UDFA) contract. Let’s take a look at where they ended up.

RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3rd round, 76th overall)

It’s hard to stop talking about Vaughn. Not only was he Vanderbilt’s lone draftee, but Vaughn’s landing spot—the new-look, Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers—must make Commodore fans smile.

Vaughn might find himself as a day one starter. Better yet, the Buccaneers are a near shoo-in to make the playoffs, as well as  Super Bowl favorites. We sure like what Vaughn brings to the table.

WR Kalija Lipscomb, Kansas City Chiefs (UDFA)

Lipscomb wasn’t drafted, but he was certainly on NFL radars. According to various reports, Lipscomb signed with the Chiefs roughly five minutes after the Draft concluded. His contract—a rumored $110K in guaranteed money with a $10K signing bonus—is significant for an undrafted player.

Upon first glance, this meant Lipscomb would be reunited with his quarterback of three years: Kyle Shurmur. But unfortunately, shortly after Lipscomb was picked up, Shurmur was let go.

Lipscomb will vie for a roster spot in MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ offense, on Andy Reid’s Super Bowl-winning roster. That won’t be a walk in the park.

WR Justice Shelton-Mosley, Kansas City Chiefs (UDFA)

Shelton-Mosley is the second Vanderbilt wideout heading to Arrowhead Stadium. But compared to Lipscomb, Shelton-Mosley was hardly a star in his one season donning the Black and Gold. 

A Harvard graduate transfer, Shelton-Mosley was primarily used in the kick and punt return game; he averaged 18.1 yards per kick return and 9.1 yards per punt return, according to Sports Reference. That return agility is precisely what the Chiefs were looking for, he told Vanderbilt Athletics. 

TE Jared Pinkney, Atlanta Falcons (UDFA)

A correct projection! Well, almost correct. The Hustler projected Pinkney to be selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the Fourth Round of the Draft. Instead, he went undrafted and later signed with the Falcons as aan UDFA.

Pinkney walks into a system tailor-made for him. The Falcons are incredibly thin at the tight end position, so he will compete for immediate playing time. While the details of Pinkney’s contract were not immediately disclosed, his three-year deal makes it clear the Falcons see some form of potential.

QB Riley Neal, Denver Broncos (UDFA)

When Riley Neal transferred from Ball State to Vanderbilt, he hoped to win the starting quarterback job, a void left by Kyle Shurmur’s graduation. 

He certainly won the battle, but his performance wasn’t enough to keep the quarterback carousel from spinning. 

Neal shared the quarterbacking duties with Deuce Wallace and Mo Hasan. His 57-percent completion rate, nine touchdowns and five interceptions were far from stand-out numbers. But apparently, it was enough to get the attention of Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, now the general manager of the Denver Broncos. Neal was signed to an UDFA contract, but the details were not disclosed.