Jacksonville Jaguars 2021 training camp preview: Running backs
Back in the day, you could compete with a great running back and a formidable defense. However, that formula no longer works, as the NFL has evolved into a passing league. In fact, running backs don’t hold the value they had 30 years ago, and you will be hard-pressed to see one be taken in the first round of the draft.
Since 2011, only 16 running backs have been drafted in the first round and the Jacksonville Jaguars took two of them: Leonard Fournette in 2017 and Travis Etienne this year. The LSU product showed flashes and even registered two 1,000-yard seasons during his three-year tenure in Jacksonville. Also, he was part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that won Super Bowl 55.
However, Lenny wasn’t worth a top 5 pick in the draft, especially when you take into account that the Jaguars could have drafted quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson. Heck, they even had a shot at taking All-Pro Christian McCaffrey but even then, it was puzzling to see them take a running back so high in the selection meeting.
This year, the Jags had two first-round picks. They used the first one, the top overall, on quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the second one (25th overall) on Etienne. Again, drafting a running back in the first round may not be the best decision when you take into account that there are quality ones in later rounds. Nevertheless, the team’s brass believes E-T-N will make their offense better.
Etienne will join a backfield that includes James Robinson and veteran Carlos Hyde. Who else is on the roster ahead of training camp?