49ers roster: 4 players who need to avoid ‘bust’ label in 2022

Aaron Banks #65 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Aaron Banks #65 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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Trey Sermon, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers running back Trey Sermon (28) Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers ‘bust’ risk No. 3: Running back Trey Sermon

If you asked which of the Niners’ two rookie running backs from the 2021 draft class were going to have the most impactful season a year ago, most probably would have answered with the third-round selection, Ohio State’s Trey Sermon.

Not sixth-round rookie Elijah Mitchell, who set a franchise record for a first-year player with 963 rush yards over 11 games played.

Sermon, meanwhile, was relegated to supplementary duties only, netting a mere 167 yards on 41 rush attempts while only starting two games, and those two starts came at points when San Francisco effectively had no other options available.

The context at the position is a little different entering 2022, namely because veteran running back Raheem Mostert is off the roster and now with the Miami Dolphins. However, with Mostert missing almost all of 2021 because of a knee injury, Sermon still finds himself in a similar battle for depth-chart positioning alongside Mitchell and returnees like Jeff Wilson Jr. and JaMycal Hasty.

Let alone if the 49ers add another running back via the 2022 draft.

Granted, third-round picks like Sermon are far from guaranteed bona fide roles on any given roster, but their expectation levels are still relatively high.

If Sermon doesn’t have a standout season this year, it might be his last chance in the red and gold.