Associated Press

PRO 2021 Rookie Spotlight: Trey Sermon, RB Ohio State

Rookie Spotlight: Trey Sermon, Ohio State
Height: 6’ 0 1/4” (Pro Day)
Weight: 213 lbs (Pro Day)
Hands: 9 1/2”
Arm: 32”
40 yard dash: 4.64 (Pro Day)
NFL Comparison: Lamical Perine, Damien Harris, David Montgomery

– contact balance
– good change of direction
– patient
– quick in spurts
– underrated pass catcher
– good ball security
– not a lot of wear

– takes time to get to top speed
– runs upright too often
– was never a workhorse in college (outside of the end of 2020)
– history of injuries

Scouting Notes: Trey Sermon is the kind of back that eats up short yardage bit by bit until he’s gashed you for a good chunk by the end of the day. He’s tall for a back, and does run upright more often than I’d like, but he’s got excellent contact balance for his stature and he can often make the first defender miss. I’m also impressed by Sermon’s ability to change direction at speed in the open field – He’s smooth for a big back who isn’t particularly athletic. Not a jump-cut-on-a-dime-type of elusiveness, but a smooth type of elusiveness where conversation of motion is exhibited with most every move. He’s a natural carrier of the football. Sermon displays explosive power in spurts out of the backfield, but he’s patient to wait for his blocks first. He’s rarely going to get too much more than what is blocked for him, but that’s often enough to move the chains. Sermon was never a workhorse back at Oklahoma or Ohio State, where he transferred in 2020, but he did break Eddie George’s record for most yards in a game at the Big-Ten Championship, where he put up 331 yards and 2 TDs on 29 carries. Despite only 116 rush attempts in 2020, Sermon was still 11th in the entire nation for number of runs over 15 yards (16 per PFF). That’s one run of 15-plus yards every 7.25 carries. Sermon’s epic run to end 2020 was a key driver in Ohio State’s emergence as a national title contender. Another silver lining to him not being a workhorse is that he’s relatively fresh compared to a lot of the premier backs being considered in the draft. He also holds onto the ball well, as he didn’t fumble in his last 394 touches in college. Sermon was rarely utilized as a pass-catcher at either school, but he has soft hands, and most of his receiving yards came after the catch. He’s also a willing pass-blocker, something that will work in his favor to keep him on the field on 3rd downs.

Fantasy Outlook: A powerful and efficient zone runner, Sermon projects to be a rotational back, but he could elevate himself to a 3-down back if given the opportunity. His extensive injury history (fractured back, LCL, and shoulder) could keep him from being one of the first few backs drafted, but Sermon does everything pretty well, and could work himself into a prominent role on a RB-needy team. He isn’t a special athlete, but he’s fresh and he’s overcome quite a bit of adversity to get himself into the position he’s in currently. If he lands on a team like Atlanta or the Jets, Sermon could become a dynasty dynamo in little time. Prior to knowing NFL landing spots, it’s very reasonable to consider Sermon as the 4th running back off the board behind Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, and Javonte Williams in dynasty rookie drafts if you have a need at RB.

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