- Running back
- Current Team
- Syracuse Orange
Sean Tucker is a junior running back prospect from Syracuse University. Despite being just a three-star recruit from Maryland, Tucker was a decorated high school track sprinter. It only took him part-way through the shortened 2020 season to surpass fellow freshman Cooper Lutz and sophomore Jawhar Jordan for the starting job. He carried the ball 136 times for 626 yards and four scores in his first collegiate season.
Tucker broke out as a sophomore, leading the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in rushing yards (1,496) and yards from scrimmage (1,751). Despite just a 5-7 record, Tucker helped the Orange go from one of the nation’s worst offenses, averaging 17.8 points per game, to a respectable 24.9. Tucker was named All-American and All-ACC, finally drawing looks from NFL scouts as he returned for his senior season.
The offensive coaching staff saw turnover heading into 2022, and Tucker had a less efficient yet still productive season under Robert Anae. Tucker saw 40 fewer carries in 2022 but dropped from 6.1 Yards Per Carry (YPC) to 5.1 YPC. Though he did become a bigger part of the passing game, adding 16 more receptions to his career-high, the big plays subsided. This subsequently led to a decrease in Yards Per Reception (YPR) of 12.8 to 7.1.
Despite leading Syracuse to its first winning season and bowl game since 2018, Tucker opted out of the Pinstripe Bowl as he declared for the NFL Draft. He ran an official 4.44 40-yard dash at his pro day and tested in the 95th percentile in the bench press with 28 reps.
• Elite speed and acceleration
• Lower-pad level runner with a thick build
• High football IQ
• Runs a full route tree out of the backfield
• Efficiency dip from sophomore to junior season
• Unsure hands in the passing game
• Sub-par elusiveness past the line of scrimmage
• Inconsistent pass-blocker
Sean Tucker Player Comparison
Rashard Mendenhall (Former RB, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Sean Tucker looks a lot like another decisive, one-cut running back who also wore the No. 34, Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall is another stronger, stiffer running back that was also 210 pounds and just an inch taller than Tucker. Mendenhall had a similar breakout season at the University of Illinois as Tucker did at Syracuse, only it came a year later.
In that 2007 junior season, Mendenhall led the Big 10 in rushing yards with 1,681, averaging 6.4 YPC and scoring 17 times. The Steelers selected Mendenhall in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Mendenhall would go on to have a stellar three-seasons strech where he totaled 3,309 rushing yards, 30 total touchdowns and respectable receiving production.
At his peak, Mendenhall was a low-end Points Per Reception (PPR) RB1. He had two additional RB2 seasons and one RB3 season in 2013 with the Cardinals. Ultimately, Mendenhall’s tough running style led to injuries.
This, plus a decline in efficiency and a fumbling issue, led to Mendenhall spending just six seasons in the league. Ultimately, we could see a similar career arc for Tucker.
Sean Tucker Fantasy Football Projection
Tucker will likely be a late-day-two or early-day-three selection in the NFL Draft. Teams targeting him are likely looking for an early-down thumper. This could give him high touchdown equity but likely limits his pass-catching ceiling. An outlier low-end RB1 season isn’t out of the question for Tucker, eventually. However, it’ll likely come in chunks rather than consistent scoring.
Unless the landing spot is Philadelphia, Dallas or another ideal situation, Tucker is a late-round redraft target I’m willing to take the shot on. In dynasty leagues, look for Tucker to be a late second-round pick or early third-round pick in rookie superflex drafts. Bump him up just a few picks in 1QB formats. At this price tag, I am comfortable taking Tucker. However, I would not be overly aggressive in targeting the Maryland native because he could lack sustained upside at the RB position.
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