From now until the 2023 NFL Draft, we will scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections, and priority undrafted free agents. Today, we’ll be profiling Syracuse running back Sean Tucker.
#34 Sean Tucker (Junior) — 5090, 207 Lbs.
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Sean Tucker||5090, 207||9 1/2″||30″||N/A|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
-True one-cut runner who gets North/South in a hurry
-Home run speed that can hit from anywhere on the field
-Impressive vision overall to read, react to defenders and plant/go
-Compact, well-built frame to withstand heavy workload
-Shows good patience to let plays develop in front of him
-Sound runner with great tempo; track star whose skills show up on the gridiron consistently
-Tremendous ball security; just three fumbles in his career
-Angle eraser with the football in his hands
-Showed adequate receiving abilities out of the backfield on swings and wheel routes
-Won’t string together many moves in the open field; relies on speed to defeat defenders in space
-Run balance a real concern at point of contact; loses footing too often
-Tends to run with a high pad level and doesn’t create much on his own
-Needs work in pass protection as far as reps are concerned; Syracuse took him off the field too often in those situations
-Limited route tree and feel for creating space as a receiver
-Played in 33 career games at Syracuse, starting 31
-Finished three-year career with 589 carries for 3,182 yards and 27 touchdowns; added 64 receptions for 622 yards and four touchdowns
-Named a first-team All-American in 2021
-First-team All-ACC in 2021, second-team All-ACC in 2022
-Set single-season program rushing record in 2021 with 1,496 yards; recorded nine 100-yard games that season
-Joined Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd Little as the only Orange running backs to earn All-American recognition in program history
-Opted out of Syracuse’s bowl game in 2022
-Former youth football teammate of Clemson’s Bryan Bresee
-Former state champion sprinter in indoor and outdoor track and field; competed in track at Syracuse
-Chose Syracuse over the likes of Wisconsin and Rutgers
– Had heart condition discovered at NFL Combine, per Bob McGinn of the
Often, a player with great long speed and home run ability on the football field is labeled a track star. For Syracuse running back Sean Tucker, he actually is a track star.
One of the fastest running backs in the 2023 NFL Draft, Tucker has some of the most impressive tape from the running back class due to his ability to hit the true home run in Syracuse’s offense the last three seasons.
Though he has some medical concerns that needed re-checks, Tucker received a clean bill of health on Monday, allowing him to hold his own Pro Day that four teams attended: the Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, New York Giants and Buffalo Bills.
Despite the limited interest due to the medicals, Tucker profiles as a change-of-pace running back at the next level, one who can hit the home run from anywhere on the field and could certainly work his way into a starting role down the line.
In Syracuse’s zone-based scheme, Tucker’s one-cut style was a perfect fit.
Here against Liberty in 2021, you can see the one-cut and the burst to just run past people. He’s truly an angle eraser with the football in his hands. While he didn’t always face NFL-caliber defenders during his time at Syracuse, his speed was a special trait for the 5090, 207-pound running back.
Look at the way he just pulls away from the Liberty defenders to race into the end zone untouched.
Similar play here against Clemson in 2021 on the stretch run.
Tucker has a good feel for pushing the edge and really can stretch out a defensive front, giving him lanes to choose from. Once he chooses where he wants to hit, he’s able to stick his foot in the ground and get vertical in a hurry. With his speed he can simply run by people for splash plays consistently.
Tucker isn’t a guy who’s going to create a ton on his own, but he did showcase the ability to do that in critical situations for the Orange over the years, much like this third-and-one situation at Virginia Tech in 2021.
He runs with good patience and tempo and lets his blocks set up, knowing that he has the speed to turn the corner on anyone. Nice little stiff-arm here early in the rep to get off the defender. He then turns the corner easily to move the chains.
This is the play that best showcases Tucker’s talents, in my opinion.
Against Boston College in 2021, watch the way Tucker slow plays this into the line of scrimmage, letting his blocks set up. Once he sees the opening, look at the acceleration to simply outrun the two defensive backs with an angle on him. Goodbye.
I really am a believer in Tucker’s vision. While he’s a true home run threat with the football in his hand, he also runs with good tempo, unafraid to slow-play things and pick his way through defenses. Though I do have concerns about his contact balance and ability to create on his own, he’s flashed the ability to run through arm tackles and set up blocks with his vision.
While at Syracuse, Tucker wasn’t used much as a receiver, but he showed good hands on swing and wheel routes out of the backfield with good body control. He came off the field often in passing situations — Syracuse didn’t trust him in pass protection — but when he was on the field as a receiver he made plays.
Nice body control here on the wheel route out of the backfield against Virginia in 2021. He makes the catch and moves the chains on the ball thrown to his back shoulder, taking a shot in the process.
In the right scheme, Tucker is going to be rather serviceable at the next level.
The vision is really strong, and he’s not afraid to bend runs outside and search for the home run. The ability to put his foot in the ground and outrun defenders is really intriguing as his track background shows up often on film.
There’s so much to like about Tucker. He’s a well-built running back who can hit the home run from anywhere due to his elite-level track speed. He can handle a heavy workload too, and can bang in between the tackles throughout games, wearing defenses down.
His workload in 2021 did catch up with him in 2022 a bit, limiting his production and raising some medical concerns ahead of the draft. But with a clean bill of health, impressive testing numbers, elite production and the one true game-changing trait in his speed, Tucker should have a productive career in the NFL. He projects as a change-of-pace runner early in his career before developing into a serviceable starter down the line very similar to the Jets’ Ty Johnson and the Browns’ Jerome Ford.
Projection: Mid-Day 3 (4th/5th Round)
Depot Draft Grade: 7.0MED (Backup/Special Teamer)
Games Watched: Liberty (2021), Clemson (2021), Virginia Tech (2021), Boston College (2021), Virginia (2022), North Carolina State (2022), Clemson (2022), Boston College (2022)