Now that everyone has had time to digest everything that we saw a few weeks ago from the NFL Draft, SB Nation has crunched the data in its latest Reacts survey to determine which rookie was the biggest steal amongst the seven rounds of selections, and — unsurprisingly to us — Ohio State running back Trey Sermon finished third in the worldwide voting.
Sermon was taken in the third round by the San Francisco 49ers with the 88th overall pick. The Oklahoma transfer will enter a crowded, but heavily used, running back room in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Sermon’s ability to not only run with speed and power, but also to catch the ball out of the backfield and to hold his own in pass protection has people thinking that he might end up factoring in heavily to the Niners’ RB rotation.
The player who took the top spot in SBN Reacts’ polling is — oddly — a player I’ve never heard of before; which is weird, because he played in the Big Ten. Yes, Purdue’s Rondale Moore apparently only played a combined seven games in his final two seasons with the Boilers (I had to look that up, because — as I said — I have never heard of this young man before), but I would have thought for sure that I would have seen him play at least once against Ohio State. It’s so weird that that never happened ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Anyway, the dynamic, yet diminutive wide receiver was selected 49th overall by the Arizona Cardinals. I would imagine that his injury history is playing a factor in folks assuming that he will be a steal, but he went in the middle of the second round, unless he ends up becoming an All-Pro pretty quickly, I think it’s tough to be a steal when you were drafted that highly.
The only other player above Sermon on the list is former Florida State cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. You might not have known this, but he is the son of former All-Pro and Super Bowl winning corner Asante Samuel. Small world, huh?
The younger Samuel was selected just two spots ahead of Moore at 47th by the Los Angeles Chargers, and while I am sure that he will end up having a great career, it will need to be pretty darn close to his dad’s for anyone to legitimately consider someone taken with the 15th pick in the second round a steal.
When we get to the fourth-place vote-getter, things get even more ridiculous. Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore was selected 38th overall by the New England Patriots. That means that he has a projected rookie contract of over $8.5 million. In what world is anyone short of “Mean” Joe Greene a steal at that price?
And for their parts, Samuel and Moore are both slated to make right around $7 million in their initial deals. Sermon on the other hand is only projected to earn just shy of $4.9 million. Obviously nothing to sneeze at, but if all of these players’ careers are essentially equal, then Trey will clearly be the biggest steal of the bunch — that’s just math!
But, if let’s say, the three second round selections end up going on to have healthy NFL careers, maybe make a few Pro Bowls, isn’t that what you expect from someone drafted that highly and paid that handsomely?
They also play positions of value in the league, while Sermon is a running back — the most disposable spot on an NFL roster. If the Niners (and Buckeye fans) end up proving to be right and Sermon becomes a major contributor to his new team, then the Niners will have absolutely gotten the most bang for the literal buck, and therefore, gotten the steal of the draft.