The 49ers’ plan to stash Trey Sermon on their practice squad will not come to pass. The Eagles intervened via a waiver claim, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Sermon will take the Philadelphia roster spot vacated by Wednesday’s Jalen Reagortrade.
Although Sermon flamed out quickly in San Francisco, he will head to a team that is coming off a season in which its rushing attack led the NFL. The Eagles will add the 2021 third-round pick to a backfield stable that includes Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and 2021 draftee Kenneth Gainwell.
The Eagles engaged in trade talks with the 49ers for Sermon last week, per Schefter, but nothing came to pass (Twitter link). San Francisco was holding one of its 16 practice squad slots for the back it traded up to land at No. 88 last year. But Sermon never quite escaped Kyle Shanahan‘s doghouse. He will attempt to start over in Philly.
Sermon, who was productive at both Oklahoma and Ohio State, is going into his age-23 season. He did average 4.1 yards per carry last season, but it came on just 41 handoffs. Sixth-round rookie Elijah Mitchell leapfrogged him by Week 1 of last season, and after it appeared Sermon was going to be a major part of San Francisco’s run game, he never gained a foothold in Shanahan’s offense. Despite Mitchell battling multiple injuries last season, Sermon started just two games and cleared 35 rushing yards in just one contest.
Philadelphia pivoted to its ground game midway through last season, and the Sanders- and Jalen Hurts-driven attack ended the campaign atop the league in rushing yards. It might be difficult for Sermon to carve out a regular role in Philly this season, though Sanders and Scott are going into contract years. Sermon, who averaged north of seven yards per tote in his junior and senior seasons (albeit with limited workloads), showing enough this year could earn him a bigger role down the line. Three years remain on Sermon’s rookie contract.
September 1st, 2022 at 12:38pm CST by Adam La Rose
SEPTEMBER 1: Should Sermon clear waivers, the 49ers plan to offer him a practice squad spot, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. With claims on the second-year back to be known soon, Sermon’s next stop should be determined Thursday.
AUGUST 31: San Francisco turned heads when selecting Trey Sermonas high as they did last season. Today, his 49ers tenure as taken another notable turn as the team is waiving him (Twitter link via ESPN’s Field Yates).
The Oklahoma and Ohio State product only topped 1,000 scrimmage yards once in his four-year college career. However, his 870 rushing yards (on an average of 7.5 per carry) with the Buckeyes in 2020 helped boost his draft stock. The 49ers selected him in the third round – having traded up to do so – adding another back to Kyle Shanahan‘s well-known committee system.
As a rookie, the 23-year-old started just two of the nine games he played in. He turned 41 carries into 167 yards and one touchdown, hardly the production which would be expected of such a highly-drafted back. The presence of Jeff Wilsonand Elijah Mitchellleft him with plenty of competition for touches in both the short- and long-term.
That became especially true when the 49ers took another third-round back this past April, drafting Tyrion Davis-Price. His addition spoke to the regard in which Sermon was held by the front office, although recent remarks from general manager John Lynch suggested that this move was unlikely.
“He worked incredibly hard and had a tremendous offseason,” Lynch said of Sermon last week (Twitter link via PFF’s Doug Kyed). “[It] hasn’t showed up in the games, but throughout training camp [he] has been one of our best players.”
Yates’ colleague Adam Schefter tweets that the 49ers waived Sermon to accommodate the arrival of former Browns guard Blake Hence, whom they claimed earlier today. Whether Sermon is able to return to San Francisco’s practice squad, or gets claimed by a team likely to have a larger workload to offer him will be worth watching.
The 49ers counted on a sixth-round rookie as their lead back last year. Elijah Mitchell took over early in the season as the Week 1 starter, Raheem Mostert, ended his year after only two carries. Mitchell went on the start ten games for San Francisco totaling 963 yards in eleven appearances to break the 49ers’ single-season rushing record for a rookie. The one notable drawback on Mitchell’s rookie campaign was that he was inactive for six games, a theme that will be repeated throughout this piece. Continuing on that note, Mitchell had knee surgery in the offseason that forced him to miss all of the team’s spring practices. He’s expected back for training camp and is likely to start the season as the 49ers’ lead back once again.
Wilson served as the starter when Mitchell missed time last year and took over RB1-duties this spring with Mitchell sidelined. Surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee forced Wilson to miss the first eight games of the year last season, and it took him a little while to regain his footing. Now over a year removed from surgery, Wilson should be back to full strength and provide a strong secondary-option beside Mitchell.
Davis-Price declared for the 2022 NFL Draft early after a strong junior year at LSU where he rushed for 1,003 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was brought in to shore up a running back room that’s been oft-riddled with injuries, but Davis-Price suffered a minor injury in the first week of OTAs and sat out the remaining work outs. Hopefully, this is the extent of the effect San Francisco’s running back curse has on the 21-year-old.
Trey Sermon was drafted three rounds before Mitchell last year but saw his teammate overtake him on the depth chart as the speed of the game at the NFL-level proved a bit too much for Sermon during his rookie season. Sermon had two starts early in the year, when Mostert and Mitchell were injured and Wilson had yet to return from surgery. Coaches desired that he be more decisive when toting the ball and he found himself sidelined for the last six weeks of the season, once Wilson and Mitchell were back and (relatively) healthy. Sermon served as RB2 this spring with Mitchell out, but, if Wagoner is correct and Davis-Price is slotted in as the second-string running back, Sermon could find himself fourth on the depth chart to start the season, and it’s hard to imagine San Francisco carries more than four running backs into the regular season.
If that last statement is true, and hypothesizing that the 49ers will decide to carry four running backs into September, Sermon will have his work cut out for him as he competes with JaMycal Hasty. The former undrafted free agent isn’t quite the rusher that Sermon is, but Hasty has been the team’s best pass-catching option out of the backfield all spring. If the coaches trust Wilson to return to 100%, they may be able to rely on him on those passing downs, but Hasty’s quickness could grant him favor in those situations. Plus, Hasty’s ability and history returning kickoffs adds a special teams value that Sermon doesn’t provide.
There it is, all laid out. Based on talent, the depth chart likely reads: Mitchell, Wilson, Davis-Price, Sermon, Hasty. Maybe, due to the injury luck they’ve had in seasons past, San Francisco decides they want to utilize 5 of their 53 roster spots on running backs (not including full back Kyle Juszczyk). If not, a top-three of Mitchell, Wilson, and Davis-Price seems likely with a possible fourth-spot being granted to either Sermon or Hasty, depending on need and value.
Nine-year veteran tackle David Bakhtiari missed nearly the entire 2021 NFL season after tearing his ACL on New Year’s Eve during the 2020 season. Unfortunately, he will have to continue waiting to play in his first playoff game since January of 2019, as the team announced, via Twitter, that he will be inactive for tonight’s game against the 49ers.
Bakhtiari had made a return for the Packers’ regular season finale, making the start in Detroit, but only playing 40% of the team’s offensive snaps. Head Coach Matt LaFleur shook off the early exit in a postgame press conference stating, “I wouldn’t say it’s anything we’re concerned about,” but it appears some continual discomfort throughout the week will keep the two-time All Pro from making a postseason return, just yet.
In the absence of Bakhtiari this year, the Packers have employed Elgton Jenkins at the blindside tackle position. Despite the reshuffled offensive line and several other injuries to key players, Green Bay still secured a first-round bye and homefield advantage. They will work tonight to extend their season another week and give Bakhtiari at least one more chance for a postseason return.
The 49ers will be without rookie running back Trey Sermon for at least the next three weeks. Sermon was knocked out of San Francisco’s win over the Vikings after suffering an ankle injury. After Sermon was carted off of the field, head coach Kyle Shanahan said he had suffered a bad ankle sprain.
Since being drafted in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Sermon has spent much of his rookie season as a special teams player. Early in the season, as San Francisco experienced injuries to it’s top three projected running backs – Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, and Elijah Mitchell – Sermon was called upon to carry the load. As soon as Mitchell was available again, Sermon was relegated back to a mostly special teams role.
Sermon’s absence is just latest of a litany of injuries in their running back room as they’ve seen Mostert, Wilson, Mitchell, Sermon, and Jamycal Hasty all miss time this year. San Francisco will hope that the severity of Sermon’s condition is limited and that he will be able to return after three games. If so, Sermon will rejoin a roster slowly starting to get healthy as they make a push for playoff contention.
September 24th, 2021 at 5:54pm CST by Sam Robinson
After suffering a pectoral injury in Week 2, Ben Roethlisberger is not in jeopardy of missing Week 3. The Steelers will have their 18th-year quarterback against the Bengals. Big Ben returned to full practice Friday. He will not have his top receiver available, however. Although Diontae Johnson‘s late-game injury was not believed to be serious, Mike Tomlin pushed back on the prospect the third-year wideout would quickly surmount his knee problem. The Steelers have declared their leading receiver out for Sunday. The third-year pass catcher has run into myriad injury issues as a pro, missing games or parts of games with several maladies last year. The Steelers have contract-year wideout James Washington set to step in as a full-timer.
Here is the latest from the injury front going into the season’s third Sunday:
In addition to being unlikely to haveAntonio Brown available, the Buccaneers will be down Jason Pierre-Paul against the Rams. The 11th-year pass rusher will miss Week 3 with hand and shoulder injuries; he did not practice this week. Tampa Bay will be set to use first-round pick Joe Tryon-Shoyinka more extensively in L.A.
Andre Dillard looks likely to return to the Eagles‘ starting lineup for the first time since November 2019. Recently extended left tackle Jordan Mailata is likely to miss Monday night’s game against the Cowboys, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. A knee injury is expected to keep the ex-rugby player out of Philly’s lineup, though Garafolo notes the team does not view the setback as serious. Mailata suffered the injury in practice this week, E.J. Smith of the Philadelphia Inquirer adds. Dillard missed extensive camp time due to a knee injury and has not played an offensive snap since 2019.
The Jets will have Zach Wilson in uniform against the Broncos, but the rookie quarterback is playing through a groin injury. The No. 2 overall pick sustained the injury during the Jets’ Week 1 loss to the Panthers, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Wilson practiced fully this week, but Howe adds the BYU product went through an MRI recently. Although Wilson might not be in danger of missing time, this is certainly an issue to monitor.
The Packers are likely to be severely shorthanded on their O-line in San Francisco. Elgton Jenkins, who has filled in for PUP list-stationed David Bakhtiari at left tackle, is doubtful to face the 49ers because of an ankle issue. Green Bay will likely be forced to use its third left tackle option against the 49ers, who feature Nick Bosa as their primary blindside rusher. The Packers signed Dennis Kelly this offseason, giving them a potential option at right tackle in the event they slide right-side starter Billy Turner to left tackle.
Between their practice squad and active roster, the 49ers have seven running backs. That total balloons to nine if Raheem Mostert (IR) and Jeff Wilson (PUP) are included, and San Francisco’s backfield will be missing more pieces Sunday. Due to injuries sustained in Week 2, Elijah Mitchell and JaMycal Hastyare respectively doubtful and out for Sunday night’s game. On the bright side, third-round rookie Trey Sermon has cleared concussion protocol. Despite beginning the season as a healthy scratch, Sermon should be expected to start, Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets. The 49ers have Trenton Cannon and recent additionJacques Patrick, an XFL alum the 49ers added off the Bengals’ practice squad, on their active roster and Kerryon Johnson and Josh Hokit on their practice squad.
The 49ers have signed a key member of their draft class. The team announced today that they’ve signed third-round running back Trey Sermon to his rookie contract. Per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (on Twitter), the four-year deal is worth $4.87MM.
Sermon spent his first three years of college at Oklahoma, including a breakout 2018 campaign where he finished with 1,128 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns. He had a fraction of the carries in 2019, leading to his transfer to Ohio State as a graduate student. During his lone season with the Buckeyes in 2020, Sermon ran for 870 yards and four scores on 116 carries.
The running back improved his draft stock with a standout postseason performance. He had an incredible game against Northwestern during the Big Ten Championship, setting a single-game school record with 331 rushing yards. He added another 254 yards from scrimmage in the Sugar Bowl, but he was knocked out of the National Championship after getting injured on the first play.
The 49ers ended up selecting the 22-year-old with the No. 88 pick in this year’s draft. An injury to Jeff Wilson could open some temporary playing time for the rookie, although he’ll likely find himself behind at least veterans Wayne Gallman and Raheem Mostert to start the season.
With the signing, the 49ers only have two unsigned draft picks: quarterback Trey Lance (1.3) and cornerback Ambry Thomas (3.102).
Quarterbacks, per usual, dominated this year’s pre-draft coverage. The Falcons made Kyle Pitts the highest-drafted tight end in NFL history, and four wide receivers then went off the board in the top 20. Running backs, as they have done in a few drafts over the past decade, waited.
While two went in Round 1, the Jaguars’ Travis Etienne pick preceded a 60-pick stretch during which just one running back — the Broncos’ Javonte Williamschoice — went off the board. The 2021 draft matches 2016 and 2003 for the fewest backs chosen in the top 80 (three) in the common draft era (1967-present), continuing a grim era for this once-storied position. But several of this year’s draftees have quick paths to key roles.
Linked toNajee Harrisahead of the draft, the Steelers took the Alabama standout at No. 24. Harris will join a Steelers team that ranked last in rushing in 2020. Although the Alabama product scored 30 touchdowns in his senior season and topped 1,200 rushing yards in two straight years, he will now play behind an offensive line that went through considerable turnover this offseason. The Steelers lost 17 Pro Bowls on their offensive line this year. They will replace Maurkice Pouncey and Alejandro Villanueva with far less experienced players, and David DeCastro‘s replacement (Trai Turner) struggled in 2020. Will Harris’ talent be enough to overcome significant O-line concerns in Pittsburgh?
Etienne joins a Jags team that just saw James Robinson set the rookie UDFA record for scrimmage yards (1,414) despite missing two games in 2020. Jacksonville also signed Carlos Hyde, who played for Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Etienne spent time at receiver during the Jags’ offseason program but should be expected to contribute heavily in the backfield. Like Harris, Etienne stayed in college for four years. He twice surpassed 1,600 rushing yards and totaled 78 college TDs — most of which coming alongside No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence— but will this unusual setup (for a first-round back, that is) translate to rookie-year production?
The Broncos traded up four spots for Williams in Round 2, Pro Football Focus’ top-rated back in this class, and chose the North Carolina product 36th overall. Williams teamed with Jets draftee Michael Carterto form one of the nation’s top backfield tandems. Williams compiled just one 1,000-yard season with the Tar Heels but led Division I-FBS with 75 broken tackles in 2020. The Broncos have Melvin Gordon signed through 2021, but the John Elway-era addition does not appear to be a lock to hold off Williams for the starting role.
The rest of the rookie field includes third-rounder Trey Sermon(49ers), Carter (fourth round, Jets) and a host of backs ticketed for early-career backup roles. While injuries certainly will hit the running back position, potentially forcing some of the later-round picks into the fray, Sermon and Carter have the best bets of seeing steady action among the mid- and late-round selections.
An Oklahoma and Ohio State product, Sermon also played four years. He averaged more than seven yards per carry in each of his past two, though he never topped 1,000 on the ground. Lead 49ers back Raheem Mostert is coming off an injury-marred season. The Jets added Tevin Coleman, who joined Mostert in missing most of last season, but do not have another back with much experience. This could allow Carter (two 1,000-yard years at North Carolina) early upward mobility, despite his 5-foot-8 frame.
Which rookie back will rush for the most yards in 2021? Who are the later-round candidates or UDFAs who can join these players as early contributors? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.