No. 2: 49ers running back Trey Sermon
Another case in point, Kyle Juszczyk’s backfield running mate, Trey Sermon, was scantly featured his rookie season a year ago.
The 49ers probably didn’t have any real plans of playing their younger running backs last season. However, once starting tailback Raheem Mostert went down with a season-ending injury during Week 1, and fellow runner Jeff Wilson struggled to stay healthy himself, San Francisco had to lean on a couple of young studs to shoulder much of the load.
Sixth-round pick Elijah Mitchell ended up becoming the workhorse for 2022, but Sermon certainly had his cracks at it. He was awarded the opportunity of starting two games for the Niners due to extensive injuries to various running backs at the time. During that two-game stretch, he had a modest stat line of 18.6 yards per game, three receptions and one touchdown, accumulating just 167 yards in year one.
He, too, would suffer an injury that forced him to miss some time and ultimately hindered his professional progression.
With Mostert leaving San Francisco for the Miami Dolphins in NFL free agency, Kyle Shanahan has to lean on Sermon a lot more in 2022.