San Francisco 49ers: 4 biggest surprises from 2021 NFL Draft
By Peter Panacy
Surprise No. 3: San Francisco 49ers used an early pick on a running back
It’s not Kyle Shanahan’s modus operandi to invest early or even mid-round NFL Draft picks on running backs, as he’s historically had success with hidden-gem options either late in the draft or even through the undrafted free-agent wire.
Now, this isn’t to say Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers won’t overbid or overpay for tailbacks. No-longer-with-the-Niners running backs Jerick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman were both paid handsomely when they signed free-agent deals with the team in years prior.
Still, San Francisco’s Round 3 addition of Ohio State running back Trey Sermon was a bit of a shocker, both in terms of need and reach.
Sermon could end up being a long-term replacement for the 49ers’ two incumbents at the position, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr., yes. And if there’s one offense where Sermon could find a ton of success, it’s under Shanahan.
Yet the Niners still have Mostert and Wilson rostered for another year, and the sixth-round addition of Louisiana-Lafayette running back Elijah Mitchell crowds the running back room a bit in advance of training camp.
Still, the bigger surprise was to see Shanahan use a day-two pick on a running back, which hasn’t been the norm for him since becoming San Francisco’s head coach and isn’t something many predicted he would do.