2013 NFL Draft Player Preview: TCU RB Matthew Tucker

Cooper Neill

As we continue our analysis of the TCU players entering the 2013 NFL Draft, we breakdown the playing style and measureables of running back Matthew Tucker.

Matthew Tucker was thrust into the starting role two games into the season after Waymon James tore his ACL against Kansas.

Hampered by an ankle sprain that he could never quite get over, Tucker managed to rush for 515 yards and a team-leading six touchdowns this season, including two huge scores against Texas in Austin on Thanksgiving night.

The senior from Tyler, Texas was the muscle man out of the backfield for the Frogs, and was more inclined to hit a linebacker than shy away from contact.

He provided much needed contrast to the burst and speed of B.J. Catalon, and he also provided stability in the backfield while Catalon got his feet wet.

For his career, Tucker rushed for 2,602 yards and 33 touchdowns. Always splitting time with various other backs, including Catalon, James and Ed Wesley, Tucker still managed to rush for over 700 yards his sophomore and junior seasons, and in 2011 he lead the team in rushing touchdowns with 12.

His ankle, which he injured late in the game against SMU, clearly affected his ability to play, as he only received double digit carries three times in the remaining eight games, including the bowl game.

However, Tucker is still a promising back for NFL teams, thanks largely in part to his size.

Tucker is built like a truck, and sits currently at 6'1", 227 pounds. To lend some perspective, Arian Foster of the Houston Texans is 6'1", 228 and Aundre Brown of the New York Giants is 6'0" 227.

Coming out of high school, Tucker ran a 4.45, and he's only gained 10 pounds in four years at TCU. If he can get close to that at TCU's Pro Day, or the combine if he goes, he's going to turn some heads.

Projected Round: 4th

Possible Teams: Cowboys, Titans, Packers

Current NFL Player Comparison: Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions

Depending on his Pro Day, I could see Tucker going as high as in the 4th round. He's got the measurables, and other than his ankle this year he's been relatively durable throughout his collegiate career.

The three teams listed all have needs at running back, especially the Packers. Their running game was almost non-existent last season, leaving all of the offensive weight on Aaron Rodgers' shoulders. While those are good shoulders to lean on, balance is necessary to succeed in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Titans are quickly falling out of love with Chris Johnson after two poor seasons in a row, and they have no viable options behind him.

Dallas has DeMarco Murray, but they still need a third down back. Felix Jones had a decent season, especially when Murray was hurt, but he has not been consistent since he came into the league, and he has a tendency to make bad decisions with the football.

I compare Tucker to Mikel Leshoure of the Lions because while neither have incredible speed, they have enough, along with their strength, to break away from would-be-tacklers.

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