Syracuse University running back Sean Tucker signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers soon after the NFL Draft ended Saturday night as one of multiple undrafted SU free agents to ink a contract.
Orange linebacker Mikel Jones joined the Los Angeles Chargers and SU kicker Andre Szmyt signed with the Chicago Bears.
Tucker was projected to be a fourth- or fifth-round pick by the NFL Mock Draft Database but was not selected in Rounds 4-7 on Day 3 as was widely expected. He was the second-best running back available on ESPN’s rankings at the end of the draft.
Two Orange players were ultimately selected in the NFL Draft — both Day 2 picks Friday night — marking the fourth time in the last decade (2021, 2020, 2014) with a pair of SU players chosen.
Offensive lineman Matthew Bergeron was the 38th pick overall in the second round by the Atlanta Falcons, and cornerback Garrett Williams was the No. 72 pick by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round.
Tucker — the 5-foot-9, 207-pound halfback from Owings Mills, Md. — attended the NFL Scouting Combine but was held out of workouts due to an undisclosed medical issue, which also kept him out of the SU Pro Day in March. The mystery surrounding the ailment likely pushed him off many league draft boards.
He was eventually cleared by the NFL to conduct a private workout Monday at SU with the Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets and Giants in attendance.
Tucker instead joins an unimposing running back depth chart in Tampa Bay, led by second-year rusher Rachaad White, journeyman free agent signing Chase Edmonds, and third-year RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Tucker figures to contend for an active roster spot this summer.
He finished his SU career ranked third on the team’s all-time rushing yardage list (3,182), seventh in career rushing touchdowns (27), second in career all-purpose yards from scrimmage (3,704), and second in 100-yard rushing performance (17).
Tucker is the only SU running back to post back-to-back seasons with more than 1,000 yards rushing and 250 receiving, achieving the feat the last two years. He ranks third all-time among SU running backs with 64 career receptions, and fourth with 622 receiving yards.
Tucker made first team All-America and All-ACC in 2021 when he rushed for an SU record 1,496 yards. He followed with an All-ACC second team selection this past season.
Tucker was a Maryland state champion at Calver Hall High School for indoor track in the 55-, 100-, and 200-meter dash. He ran indoor track at SU during the 2021-22 winter season.
Jones, listed at 6-foot-1, 224 pounds this past season, was projected to go in the seventh round of some recent projections but was not forecasted to be selected by the NFL Mock Draft Database.
The Miami native is a three-time All-ACC selection, two-time SU team captain, and started 38 of 46 career games for the Orange. He finished ranked 17th in team history with 301 total tackles, including 163 solo and 24 for loss. He tallied 9.5 career sacks and four interceptions, while forcing and recovering four fumbles.
Szmyt won the Lou Groza Award for the nation’s top kicker as a redshirt freshman in 2018 and finished as SU’s all-time leader in career points (454) and field goals made (85), ranking sixth in the FBS history in the latter.
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