2. Travis Etienne – Jacksonville Jaguars running back
It’s easy to look at all the negatives surrounding the selection of Travis Etienne and think the Jaguars dropped the ball. Why would you draft a running back when you already had rookie sensation James Robinson on the roster? Also, why would you use such a high pick on a position you can easily address in later rounds? Finally, Jacksonville had bigger needs, so it was kind of shocking to see the Jags use the 25th overall selection on the Clemson product.
Other teams have drafted a running back with a high pick even though they already have a good one in place. The Tennesse Titans selected Derrick Henry in 2016 even though they already had DeMarco Murray. The Minnesota Vikings did something similar when they drafted Adrian Peterson in 2007 despite the fact that Chester Taylor was coming off a 1,000-yard season. It’s fair to say that both teams were pleased with their respective investments.
The Jaguars wouldn’t have drafted Etienne if they didn’t think he could make an immediate impact. Putting aside the fact that he was teammates with Trevor Lawrence, he has the potential to be a dual-threat in the NFL. Back at Clemson, he hauled in 102 receptions for 1,115 yards and eight touchdowns. He also racked up 2,571 rushing yards after contact, the most in college football from 2018 to 2020.
Even if Robinson is the Jaguars’ lead back in 2021, Etienne will have a big role on offense.