One prospect who may interest the Denver Broncos on day three of the 2023 NFL Draft is former Syracuse running back Sean Tucker. He is a 5’9”, 209-pound running back who is viewed as a potential day-three steal in the draft. The Draft Network has him ranked as their 12th-best running back in the draft and their 170th overall prospect in the entire NFL Draft.
Tucker played a total of three seasons at Syracuse and turned into one of their key offensive players during that span. During his three seasons with the team, he totaled 3,182 yards rushing, averaged 5.4 yards per carry, and found the end zone 27 times. He also added 64 receptions for 622 yards and 4 touchdowns as well. This past season, he rushed for 1,060 yards, averaged 5.1 yards per carry, and had 11 rushing touchdowns. He added 36 receptions for 254 yards and an additional 2 receiving touchdowns as well.
Sean Tucker among ACC RBs in 2021:— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 10, 2022
1,515 yards (1st)
1,014 yards after contact (1st)
66 forced missed tackles (1st)
44 runs of 10+ yards (1st)pic.twitter.com/szEPJePQjI
Weight: 207 pounds
Hands: 9.5 inches
*Note: Tucker did not participate in any drills at the Combine because of a medical waiver, but he did post this video of him doing the drills on his own. You can watch that here.
- Has top-end speed and reportedly timed in the 4.3”s while working out
- Was a 100 and 200-meter sprinter in high school and college and that translates to the field
- Has excellent burst and is dangerous in the open field
- Well built back who is a compact runner who runs low to the ground
- A well-balanced runner who keeps that balance through contact
- While not a physical runner, he does break through arm tackles and tends to fall forward
- Has quick feet and makes quick cuts in the open field
- Is able to make defenders miss in space
- Has shown he can be a contributor in the passing game
- Played through injuries and showed he has the competitive toughness teams look for in prospects
- Carried the ball 200+ times in the past two seasons and showed he can be a bell cow back if needed
- Only had four fumbles in the past two seasons, so he has flashed solid ball protection
- Pass protection is not good and will need to be developed better in the NFL
- While he has flashed in the passing game, he has been inconsistent there at times
- May not be a bell-cow back in the NFL
- Not a powerful runner and could struggle at breaking tackles in the NFL
- Can be inconsistent in between the tackles and sometimes leaves some yards on the field
- Can be inconsistent at hitting the hole at times
What other analysts are saying
NFL.com’s draft analyst Lance Zierlein
Compact, early-down backup candidate with adequate size, good contact balance, and instinctive features that create opportunities outside the blocking scheme. Tucker lacks the slashing qualities needed to speed through the line and past linebackers. However, he can navigate run lanes and has plenty of balance to keep the run moving after contact. He has lateral elusiveness and the build-up speed to outrun defenders in the open field. While he caught passes in the Syracuse offense, he lacks true third-down talent.
The Draft Network’s Joe Marino
There is so much to love about the big-play potential of Tucker, but his snap-to-snap consistency as a ball carrier and passing-down contributor clouds his projection. Tucker has the makeup of an impact weapon in the NFL but development is needed for him to be a lead guy.
33rd team scouting report on Tucker
Tucker has a compact build but is a little on the smallish side. His pitter-patter feet as he approaches the line he keeps his shoulders square which allows him to disguise his path and quickly adjust creases that open. Not much fire or pop in his chip releases, he has good pad level and balance to keep his feet on shots to his thighs. He has good lower body strength to pull through arm tackles. Good vision and lateral agility from him but lacks burst out of those cuts.
Tucker lacks creativity in tight quarters and juking ability in the open field. He has sure hands but is not a dynamic route runner. Tucker is a good multi-purpose player, but he fails to stand out in this class due to a lack of suddenness and creativity. He does not have high-end starter traits, but he could find a role as 3rd down back with his sure hands and vision.
Pro Comparison: Shane Vereen (8-Year Veteran, 2nd Round Draft Pick in 2011 NFL Draft)
Like most day three backs, Tucker is far from a perfect prospect, but I see potential here. He has good speed and athleticism and I like how he can create out in the open field. He is a compact runner who runs low to the ground and can be difficult to bring down at times. Also, he has shown he can be a threat in the receiving game as well, but he can be inconsistent there. He will need to improve his pass protection significantly if he wants to see the field as a rookie, but that is a hurdle a lot of rookie backs need to overcome.
As for his potential fit with the Broncos, I see him as a change of pace back. You have two power backs in Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine, so adding some speed and big play ability back there should be something they consider. Also, with Williams most likely missing a portion of the season, there is an avenue currently for some significant snaps early on in the season.
I believe the Broncos will draft a running back at some point during the draft and I also believe that back will have some speed while also being a receiving threat. They have multiple power backs currently on the roster so I see them going in a different direction in the draft.