Sean Tucker, Syracuse
Sean Tucker will certainly be #PL34SED to see his name among underrated 2023 NFL draft prospects.
The 5’10, 210lb back is projected mainly in the fourth round. I truly believe Tucker should be a second-round prospect.
Tucker’s 2021 was amazing: first team All American and Syracuse’s single-season rushing record. He had a good 2022 but still wasn’t as good as the prior year. He became the only player in Syracuse history to post back-to-back 1000-yard rushing and 250-yard receiving seasons. Tucker also finished his Orange career third in rushing yards per game, seventh most rushing touchdowns, and seventh in all-purpose yards in program history.
Tucker missed an opportunity to raise his stock when he missed both the Combine and Syracuse’s pro day with a “medical issue.”
I could see Tucker as a poor man’s Bijan Robinson. Productive in every form of the game, but only as a first and second down back. Pairing him up with a guy that’s stronger on third-down situations will help Tucker overall.
As for now, his closest NFL comparison is Devin Singletary. I know I kind of knocked the Bills’ running backs earlier, but Tucker is similar. Both are strong catching out of the backfield and don’t go down easy, Tucker will occasionally wait too long for the lane to open instead of just bursting through it, which he is more than capable of doing, also like Singletary.
Tucker would be a nice fit with a team like the Saints as he’d be a great compliment to Alvin Kamara.
Chase Brown, Illinois
Super Bowl Champion Melvin Gordon. Three-time Super Bowl Champion James White. Montee Ball, an insanely talented guy whose personal issues, unfortunately, ended his NFL career before he could reach those heights. Three guys coached in the Big Ten by Bret Bielema. Chase Brown has potential to join those three.
Another guy projected to go in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL draft, one of the big knocks on any Bielema running back is that they were “overused” in college. Brown ran 328 times last season including 41 attempts against Minnesota and 36 against Indiana. In fact, he averaged 27.3 carries per game in 2022. Those 328 attempts were a little less than half his career total. He did account for 1634 rushing yards in 2022, which is also something you’d come to expect under Bielema.
Brown started at Western Michigan before transferring to Illinois after one season, where he ran for 3206 of his 3558 career rushing yards. He also returned kicks early in his career, but most of those were during his time at Western Michigan. He hasn’t returned a kick since 2020.
Brown will need to work on his pass-blocking abilities to be able to stay on the field at all times. He’s not the most powerful back (running or blocking) but was just plain beat by defenders on a number of occasions. He’ll need to become better at getting to the outside instead of running between the tackles. He’s tough to tackle in open space since he has some solid moves and jukes.
It feels like a copout to say the Bears would be a good fit, but that’s what I’m going with.