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49ers draft RB Trey Sermon with No. 88 pick

Ohio State RB Trey Sermon goes to the San Francisco 49ers with the No. 88 overall pick in the 2021 draft. Will he be a fantasy football asset to start his career?

Ohio State Buckeyes running back Trey Sermon (8) finds open field to the outside during the Allstate Sugar Bowl College Football Playoff Semifinal between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Clemson Tigers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2021 in New Orleans, LA. Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers moved up in the third round to draft former Oklahoma and Ohio State running back Trey Sermon with the No. 88 overall pick in the NFL Draft. He has plenty of traits that could produce a productive NFL career, and Sermon will be an interesting player to watch develop. He is not coming off an outstanding year, but he was playing his best football in the postseason before exiting the national title game with a shoulder injury.

In his lone season with the Buckeyes, Sermon rushed for 870 yards with 7.5 yards per carry in eight games with four touchdowns. Additionally, he caught 12 passes for 95 yards with four receiving scores. He rushed for 331 yards in the Big Ten title game and another 193 yards in the College Football Playoff semifinals before missing almost all of the championship with the injury.

Scouting Report

Sermon has the ideal size and build to be a consistent NFL player at the running back position, and he does a solid job at finishing runs. Though he wasn’t used a ton as a pass catcher out of the backfield in college, Sermon proved he has the ability to make plays in that spot. His ability to step up in big games was crucial to Ohio State late last season to reach the championship game. One of Sermon’s biggest question marks will be his vision as he struggled at times to shoot through the correct holes aggressively.

Fantasy football impact

Rookie

The 49ers were a middle-of-the-road running team last year despite having to deal with an onslaught of injuries in the backfield, and Sermon will join several other capable players in the running back room. There’s no telling what Kyle Shanahan’s game plan will be on a weekly basis. Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, and Wayne Gallman will give the Ohio State rookie plenty of competition. Sermon probably won’t come close to being even an average fantasy running back in Year 1.

Long-term

Sermon has a well-rounded skill set that could make him very valuable behind a quality offensive line. He has that in San Francisco, but he has too many solid options around him to be a difference-maker anytime soon. If the 49ers make Sermon a feature back, he can be a quality RB2. However, San Francisco likes to go with the hot hand often and is unlikely to pivot from its current offensive mentality.