Ohio State runback Trey Sermon fits in well with the 49ers’ running attack.
But there was not a great need for another one-cut race left on the list along with Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr. and Wayne Gallman Jr.
The biggest thing that separates the sermon from the three veteran backs on the 49ers’ list is that he will sign a four-year contract and is sure to be in the next few seasons.
Aunt, Wilson and Gallman are only signed through the upcoming season.
The 49ers traded up to No. 88 overall in the third round to pick the sermon. The 49ers stuck to their second pick in the third round, scheduled for No. 102 overall, but sent their fourth round, No. 1
The sermon is in a situation of receiving a lot of playing time as a rookie, but it seems obvious that the 49ers are planning to have a back-by-committee approach.
It’s also possible – if not likely – the 49ers will have their fifth different leading rusher in the first five seasons of coach Kyle Shanahan’s time with the organization.
Carlos Hyde, Matt Breida, Mostert and Wilson led the 49ers’ rushing the last four seasons.
San Francisco’s biggest immediate need to run back was more of a pace change that can drive sharp routes and catch passes out of the backfield.
That is not the sermon. He had just 48 passes in 486 yards and three touchdowns in his four-year college career.
Sermon, however, was a very productive runner. He averaged 6.5 yards over his Ohio State career. He got 2,946 yards and scored 26 touchdowns.
He rushed to 870 yards in eight games last season and a school-record 331 yards came in a win over Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship.
The skills of the preachers match well for 49ers running games that rely heavily on their outer zone scheme. He is best at stretching his runs outward, picking his hole and cutting sharply up on the court.
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Shanahan – and his father, two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Shanahan, before him – have always found success with underrated running backs.
It’s no surprise that the 49ers would follow up on their 1st round in North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance with two other offensive players.
49ers targeted powerful Notre Dame guard Aaron Banks in the second round.
It’s a surprise, though, that the 49ers would go after a runback in the third round, let alone act up to get him.
But that probably tells you everything you need to know about the kind of production they expect from Preaching for at least the next four seasons.
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