2. RB Travis Etienne will lead the Jaguars in rushing yards.
The NFL has evolved into a passing league. The value of quarterbacks has skyrocketed while running backs no longer have the same impact they had 30 years ago, when you could give them 30 carries per game and play ball-control. They are still important but you don’t need an elite one to win a championship. Still, the Jaguars took Travis Etienne 25th overall in last year’s draft.
While taking a running back in the first round is questionable due to the surplus of quality options later in the draft, Etienne’s skills as a pass-catcher made him an enticing addition to the Jags’ offense. Unfortunately, his rookie campaign ended before he started when he suffered a Lisfranc injury that forced him to sit out the whole season.
E-T-N has made meaningful progress in his recovery and should be 100 percent healthy by training camp. Last season, he was supposed to share Jacksonville’s backfield with stud running back James Robinson but the plan was scratched once he got hurt. Robinson is now recovering from an injury of his own, paving the way for ETN to have a robust workload in the 2022 season.
The Jags used a fifth-round draft pick on Snoop Conner but unless he has an outstanding offseason, Etienne will get most of the carries early in the season while Robinson recovers. But even with Robinson back in the fold, Etienne will be the Jags’ lead back. The former Clemson Tiger will make the most of his chances and show why the team’s brass invested a first-round pick in him.