49ers NFL Draft 2021: Grades for each pick based on value
By Peter Panacy
49ers draft RB Trey Sermon, Ohio State, at No. 88 overall
Based on value and need alone, the 49ers whiffed on their third-round selection of Ohio State running back Trey Sermon.
This isn’t to say Sermon was a bad pick and won’t have success in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Sermon could end up being a stud for an outside-zone system, and if there’s an offense tailored to take advantage of Sermon’s skill set, it’s that of Shanahan.
Sermon still doesn’t have the ideal speed Shanahan covets, having posted a 4.58 40-yard time at his pro day. So it doesn’t appear as if Sermon will challenge the Niners’ top running back, Raheem Mostert, for the No. 1 spot on the depth chart anytime soon. And Sermon doesn’t have the vision or decisiveness to thrive on runs between the tackles.
And despite Sermon’s excellent finish for Ohio State during last season’s college playoffs, his production for the Buckeyes wasn’t overly inspiring. In fact, Sermon’s best year came back in 2018 when he was still with Oklahoma.
Most draft boards pegged Sermon as a third-round pick, which is fair. But San Francisco’s recent history of not using high-profile picks on running backs, paired with the reality Shanahan should have targeted a cornerback, wide receiver or edge rusher with the team’s first pick in Round 3 makes this arguably the most questionable pick the 49ers made.