WHO: Dallas Cowboys assistant director of college scouting Chris Vaughn and the Dallas Cowboys sixth-round draft pick, running back Deuce Vaughn.

WHAT: A rare opportunity for a scout to call his own kid to inform the athlete he’s been drafted by the team his dad works for. 

WHY IT’S SO GREAT: The Dallas Cowboys’ 2023 draft class was a mixed bag. Did the team reach a bit by drafting defensive tackle Mazi Smith and tight end Luke Schoonmaker with their first- and second-round picks? Perhaps! But they also own the NFL Draft’s best story—when Chris Vaughn, a scout who’s been with the ’Boys since 2017, got on the phone to share the news with the second of the team’s sixth-round draft picks. It’s unusual for a scouting assistant to make the call to a player directly, but Vaughn had an unusual connection to the small, shifty Kansas State running back whom Jerry and Stephen Jones, head coach Mike McCarthy, and player personnel vice president Will McClay had decided to select—Vaughn’s the player’s dad. “Look here, man, do you want to come to work with me next week?” Vaughn asked during the call, his voice breaking.

“I wouldn’t mind that at all,” the younger Vaughn responded. 

According to ESPN, Chris Vaughn had avoided letting his relationship with Deuce influence his talent evaluations. He abstained from writing a scouting report on his son, and recused himself in meetings where Deuce’s name would come up. When the organization’s braintrust opted to draft the Kansas State product, Chris Vaughn was outside the draft room, preparing the Cowboys’ strategy for contacting undrafted prospects the team had interest in signing as free agents after the draft’s seventh and final round. Before Deuce Vaughn was drafted, Chris checked in with his son on the phone, offering a few words of encouragement as Deuce started to worry that his name might not be called. When Chris Vaughn returned to the Cowboys’ draft room in Frisco, the team had already settled on Deuce, but Jerry Jones pretended the organization was still mulling the possibilities—a ruse the owner put on before offering Chris Vaughn the chance to turn in the selection. 

Football is a family affair for the Cowboys. Jones runs the organization with his own children, with Stephen on the football side, son Jerry Jr. in marketing, and daughter Charlotte overseeing the Cowboys brand. Jones’s grandson—Stephen’s son, John Stephen Jones—played quarterback at Highland Park High School, leading the Metroplex powerhouse to back-to-back state titles in 2016 and 2017 before joining Arkansas as a backup signal caller. While Deuce Vaughn does look to be a perfect fit for McCarthy’s offense, it also just makes sense that the Cowboys might be the team to draft a scout’s son. “I’ve never had an experience like that in the draft room,” Jones told ESPN. “Ever.”