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2023 Rookie Profile: Sean Tucker, RB Syracuse

Sean Tucker is a RB you NEED to know in the 2023 draft class. @Devy2DynastyFR tells you everything you need to know about this exciting prospect!

Sean Tucker was a 3-star recruit at running back coming out of high school. A converted track star, he was only listed at 186 pounds coming into his freshman year at Syracuse, and he wasn’t expected to be an impact player in his first season.

However, injuries and COVID-19 opt-outs led to opportunity, and he quite literally ran with it. Producing over 700 total yards as a true freshman earned him a bell-cow role as a sophomore. He bulked up without losing any of his track speed. As a result, he produced over 1,700 total yards and 14 TDs in his second season.

Along with that massive production came a lot of exciting traits on tape and quite a bit of NFL buzz. Unfortunately, he got a new offensive coordinator in his final collegiate season. He wasn’t quite as successful in the new system. Although it felt like a letdown compared to his previous season, in reality, it was still a great year. He still posted over 1,300 yards and caught almost twice as many passes in the new offense. The hype has faded quite a bit on Tucker this year, but I still believe in him as a prospect. Let’s get into some of his strengths and weaknesses.


  • College: Syracuse University
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 205 lbs
  • Age: 21 (10/25/01)
  • Year: Junior
  • Draft Projection: Day 2 Pick


Elite Athleticism

Tucker is listed at 5’10” and 205 lbs, which is solid but not spectacular. However, and this is purely speculation on my part, I believe he’s more like 5’9 and 210+. Tucker is compact but built like a truck, similar to Kenneth Walker last year.

And he’s extremely explosive. He reportedly ran a 4.3 40-yard dash in high school, which is an elite time for a running back. He’s put on a tremendous amount of weight since high school, so it’s possible he’s slowed down, but it sure doesn’t look like it on film.

This play against NC State is designed to go to the right, but Tucker’s running lane is completely clogged up. He sees green grass in the opposite direction of his blocking, and in one smooth motion, he completely flips his hips and explodes to the outside. He creates this touchdown purely with his athleticism.

Here, he gets to the outside easily, leaving the defensive end diving where he thought Tucker would be. Diving defenders usually means elite acceleration. Tacklers think they have a bead on him, but he gets up to speed much quicker than expected, forcing a bad angle. This is all over Tucker’s film. Once Tucker turns the corner and gets downhill, every defender chasing him looks like they’re running in slow motion.

Decisive Running Style

One thing I love about Sean Tucker is that he’s a decisive runner. He’s not the type to pitter-patter and dance in the backfield. He’s patient enough to let his blocking develop, but as soon as there is a hole to hit, he hits it hard.

Syracuse ran zone run-blocking schemes at an extremely high rate, which was a perfect fit for Tucker’s running style. He would stretch the defense out until a cutback lane developed, make one violent cut, and then explode upfield.

Check out this play from 2021 against Clemson. Tucker begins to stretch the run to the outside, but after only a few steps, he notices a cutback lane up the middle. He hits it hard and explodes through the hole without hesitation or wasted motion. Two defenders are left diving at the air, and he breaks off a huge run. His elite acceleration compliments his decisive north-south running style perfectly.

Here’s another example, this time against Liberty. In this instance, he has to stretch the run all the way to the outside before the cutback lane develops. And it’s not a big running lane at all. But he sees it and gets upfield in the blink of an eye. Next thing you know, he’s 10 yards downfield running a dude over. I love his no-nonsense running style.


Speaking of running dudes over, this is something Sean Tucker does fairly often. As I mentioned earlier, Tucker is built like a truck. He’s short with a low center of gravity and has a strong base. His legs look like tree trunks. When you’re stronger than a lot of the guys trying to tackle you, and you’re running with a lower pad level, that will lead to a lot of broken tackles.

Just look at this play vs. Louisville. It’s third and 2, and he gets stood up by a defender after just a yard. But Tucker has the lower pad level and the stronger legs. He drives the defender back an extra 4 yards and puts him on his back before other defenders rally to help make the tackle, and he gets the first down easily.

He consistently ran through arm tackles in every single game I studied. If he wasn’t wrapped up, the defender had no chance. Here’s another play later in the same drive in the Louisville game. Syracuse is now in the red zone, and Tucker is running to his left. He sees a cutback lane open up to his right, and he hits it hard, but he can’t get through untouched. In fact, two guys get an arm on him, but he has the strength and balance to blow through both like they aren’t even there. Touchdown!

Receiving Upside

As great as Tucker looks as a runner, we know how important it is for running backs to be able to catch passes these days. NFL teams covet it, and most dynasty fantasy football leagues these days are full PPR.

The good news is that Sean Tucker has an incredible receiving profile. His 15.8% career college target share is ELITE. That’s in the 95th percentile.

Route Running

In my film study, I did not see many examples of him splitting out wide or in the slot to run wide receiver routes. However, as far as traditional running back routes out of the backfield, I saw a full route tree with examples of angle routes, option routes, wheel routes, out routes, screens, etc.

Ball Skills

Later in the same game, Tucker runs a nice wheel route and makes a very natural adjustment to a ball thrown to his back shoulder. He shows natural hands and good body control. Overall, Tucker has excellent ball skills for a running back.

Yards After Catch

Like most running backs, when Tucker does catch the ball, he’s dangerous after the catch. All the explosiveness and power that I highlighted earlier are on full display.

Check out this play against Louisville. He catches a tunnel screen and makes the first man miss. And he’s off to the races. He looks absolutely shot out of a cannon on this play, and he burns the defense so badly that he has time to do the “bye-bye” wave at the end of it.

The last play I’ll show here is one of my favorites. This is against Wake Forest in 2021, and Syracuse is down 7 with 28 seconds left. They’ve got about 30 yards to go. This is not a situation where you want to be dumping it off to your running back in the middle of the field. But that’s exactly what they end up having to do.

If Tucker gets tackled in bounds, it leaves his team in a really bad situation. All his strengths come to the table at once. He’s decisive and gets straight north-south with no nonsense. He’s explosive, quickly getting up to speed and nearly making it to the endzone untouched. But at the last second, he gets blasted by a defender about 2 yards shy of the endzone. Somehow, he shrugs off that contact like it’s nothing and waltzes right in.

Plays like this show that Tucker is more than just an average guy who compiled stats purely on volume. He’s a difference-maker who can put the team on his back and make big, game-changing plays when they need it most.

But that doesn’t mean he’s a perfect player. So let’s talk about some of his weaknesses.



First, he doesn’t have great elusiveness in the open field. In some ways, his strengths work against him here. He has pretty good short area quickness at the line of scrimmage, but once he gets up to speed, he doesn’t do a great job being in control of his speed and doesn’t show much wiggle. He sees an opening, gets north-south, and runs downhill at 1,000 miles an hour. Once you’re in that full-speed gear, it’s tough to move laterally. So this may be a stylistic thing more than it is a true weakness, but the fact is that I don’t see him making guys miss on the second level very often.

On this play against NC State, Tucker stretches it to the outside, finds the cutback lane, and hits it hard. But this time, after 6 yards, there’s a defender in his path. He tries a little side-step move, but he’s already going too fast to cut effectively, and it’s a pretty easy tackle for the defender. It’s still a 10-yard gain, but in a one-on-one situation, you would hope Tucker could make a man miss and turn that 10-yarder into a much bigger play.

Here against Liberty, he catches a screen pass, and again if he makes the first guy miss, he could have a huge play. He tries the same little side-step maneuver, which isn’t very effective.

Pass Protection

Another major area for development for Sean Tucker is his pass protection. There are numerous reps on tape where he does a poor job in this area, and frankly, there are only so many good reps to balance things. Sometimes he seems to lack awareness of where he should be. Other times his technique is poor, and he either drops a shoulder or tries to dive at the defender’s legs instead of squaring up.

Many college running backs struggle with this, and it could keep him off the field in obvious passing situations if he doesn’t improve in this area. This would limit his pass-catching upside. Joe Mixon comes to mind here in terms of a running back that we all know can catch passes and should have receiving upside, but he’s rarely on the field for third down, primarily because of his pass protection issues.


Sean Tucker has some elite traits and three-down upside at the next level. He’s shown he has the size and durability to hold up to an every-down role. He has a unique blend of explosiveness, pass-catching, and bruising in between the tackles that could make him a valuable fantasy asset. He has been a bit overlooked due to his 3-star pedigree and having played at Syracuse. As of this writing, he is my RB3 in the class behind Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs.

People are down on him right now, and there’s lots of speculation that he may not get the draft capital we expect. If and when that happens, I’ll adjust my ranks accordingly. But he will be one of the biggest risers at the combine, eventually getting that draft capital. And if he gets it, then I’m all in.

Regarding team fit, most of his runs at Syracuse were in a zone run-blocking scheme. That makes Atlanta, Kansas City, and the Rams ideal landing spots for him.

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