RB Draft Profile: Trey Sermon
Name: Trey Sermon
School: Oklahoma / Ohio State
Weight: 215 lbs
On film, Trey Sermon demonstrates excellent playing technique. That all begins with the footwork. Specifically, there are two aspects to footwork that I focus on. The first is movement efficiency. We do not want to see extra steps when it is not necessary. Usually, that will show up when changing direction. For Sermon, there are never any wasted steps. His efficient footwork allows him to quickly change direction for cut-backs.
The second main aspect to look for regarding footwork is churning through contract. Will a player keep their feet moving even after getting hit by a defender. This is incredibly important in the NFL considering the size of some players. Against NFL defensive linemen or linebackers, it will take all the momentum possible to gain as many yards as possible. Sermon does an excellent job of churning his feet through contact.
Like footwork, my evaluation process for flexibility has two primary components. First, there are a player’s movement skills for different body parts. With regard to running the football, having flexible ankles, hips and, knees are paramount. The second aspect of the flexibility raiting is pad level. Does a player maintain a low center of gravity? They can do so by lowering their shoulder pads before taking contact. This may potentially aid in gaining extra yards.
In terms of flexibility and pad level, Sermon showcases excellent technique. As a runner who is not overly powerful, it is very important for Sermon to lower his pads before taking contact. He will need all the help he can maintaining his ground after a hit.
Where Sermon truly excels are his quick and fluid movement skills. His ability to bend his ankles, hips and, knees help him to evade tacklers. As mentioned, his lack of elite power makes this shiftiness arguably his best weapon. Sermon also does an excellent job of keeping his upper body squared to the line-to-gain. Even when moving laterally, he rapidly adjusts his should pads rapidly in order to square himself up to any incoming defender.
While Sermon showed immense technical prowess on tape, the physical aspects of his game and not as well developed. He does everything correctly in order to help fight through contact such as churn his feet and lower his pads. However, in spite of that, Sermon often goes down fairly easily on first contact. The lack of contact balance keeps him from gaining additional yards after being touched.
Sermon is not what I would consider to be a power-back. He does not push back defenders particularly well. Furthermore, there may be some durability concerns. Sermon missed time during both his junior and senior seasons, playing in two different conferences. More recently, he left the National Championship game early in the first quarter with a shoulder injury. We shall see how much that injury affects his draft stock and training camp status.
The biggest limitation to Sermon’s game is that he may not get cast as a goal-line back, at least not early in his career. Unfortunately, this may take away from his touchdown upside.
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While still unimpressive, Sermon scored better in the burst category than he did in contact balance. This is of course relative to other players. Sermon hits the hole hard whether the play is an inside run, or he heads to the outside. This quick bursts certainly helps with cuts-backs and quick change of direction.
On tape, Sermon appears to read and react rapidly. This along with his quick burst should allow him to play in either inside or outside zone schemes, as well as behind an offensive line that primarily uses gap blocking. Because of this, Sermon will be less affected by team fit than other backs may be.
Sermon showcases some great passing-back traits on tape. While his college route tree was not the most diverse, Sermon was able to get open on extended plays. He also has excellent hands, making difficult catches from a variety of quarterbacks at his two schools. The only knock against Sermon as a pass-catcher is his lack of receiving work in college. A number that has demonstrated a certain level of predictability is single-season receptions. If a player has even one year of 20 catches or more, it is shown to translate to an NFL level role. Unfortunately for Sermon, he never caught more than 16 passes in any of his four seasons in college.
The other mark against Sermon as a passing-down back is his inconsistent pass-protection results. He often makes the right read and puts himself in a position to pick up the blitz. However, just being there is not always the full answer. I have mentioned Sermon’s lack of power a couple of times already. This also has a consequence on pass-protection. At times, even when Sermon makes the right gap read, the pass-rusher will go quickly push through him to pressure the quarterback. In other instances, Sermon will stand his ground and help his signal-caller stay clean.
Trey Sermon has an excellent technical grasp of the running back position. His footwork and pad level are two of the biggest strengths of his game. Sermon is a fluid runner with good flexibility to make successful cut-backs and to force missed tackles. He also has enough burst to avoid defenders.
The biggest weakness to Sermon’s game may his power running. This may limit his valuable goal-line opportunities in the NFL. Furthermore, Sermon has some excellent pass-catching traits. Perhaps enough to get him on the field on passing downs, but his limited college receiving production does pose concern that NFL teams may not give him the chance. Blocking scheme will be less important than draft capital for Sermon. Likely, Sermon’s fantasy success may come down to whether or not he can become a passing-down back.
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