49ers grab Justin Fields, build around him in mock NFL Draft
By Peter Panacy
Round 3, Pick No. 102 Overall (Compensatory): 49ers select running back Trey Sermon, Ohio State
Historically speaking, Kyle Shanahan has relied heavily upon hidden-gem talent at running back, but that doesn’t always mean he’ll avoid investing big at the position. Lucrative free-agent deals for former 49ers runners like Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon are perfect examples, even though neither panned out to desired expectations.
Still, there’s a good deal of tailback talent in this year’s draft. And if it weren’t for Clemson’s Travis Etienne or Alabama’s Najee Harris, one could argue Ohio State running back Trey Sermon should be in the discussion for the top runner selected on draft day.
So pairing Sermon with his former Buckeyes teammate, Justin Fields, isn’t a bad move at all considering the success they had together in 2020.
Speaking of that success, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Sermon averaged over 7 yards per carry the last two seasons, split between Oklahoma and Ohio State, and even managed to get himself involved in the receiving game, too, with 12 receptions for 95 yards in 2020.
With the Niners poised to lose all of their running backs — Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., JaMycal Hasty and Austin Walter — to NFL free agency in 2021, stockpiling some youthful rushers right now would be a smart idea.
Plus, it would give Fields one more weapon and a player with whom he already has good chemistry.