Jaguars RB Travis Etienne gets honorable mention in ESPN top 10 ranking

The Jacksonville Jaguars have struggled to get their players on ESPN top 10 lists and it's no different for running back Travis Etienne Jr., who got an honorable mention.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. (1) leaves the stadium after cleaning out his locker.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. (1) leaves the stadium after cleaning out his locker. / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY

Besides tight end Evan Engram, no Jacksonville Jaguars player has been able to get a spot on the top 10 lists ESPN has put together ahead of the 2023 season. Running back Travis Etienne is no different and has failed to make the cut. He got an honorable mention though.

The ESPN staff has been ranking the best players at each position and they continued with running backs Friday. Nick Chubb earned the top spot, followed by Christian McCaffrey. Josh Jacobs finished third and Saquon Barkley popped up at No. 4. Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor took the fifth and sixth spots, respectively, while Alvin Kamara landed at No. 7. Dalvin Cook, Tony Pollard, and Austin Ekeler — in that order — claimed the last three spots.

Keep in mind that these rankings are based on exchanges ESPN had with coaches and league executives, so this ranking is the general consensus. Here's what an NFL scout had to say about ETN, "Good back, good speed, was getting healthy -- might have a breakout year." On top of that, this scout sees the Jaguars running back as "not physical but can do enough".

Etienne, a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, missed his rookie campaign after suffering a Lisfranc injury in the preseason. He spent most of last offseason rehabbing and managed to be ready for the 2022 opener. Even though he began the season as the No. 2 back on the depth chart, eventually surpassed James Robinson as the starter. By the time the Jags made the playoffs, Etienne had become a key cog on their offense. He finished the year with 1,215 rushing yards with five touchdowns.

RB Travis Etienne is set to be a focal point on the Jaguars offense in 2023

All things considered, ESPN's top 10 looks fine, with a couple exceptions. Alvin Kamara hasn't been nearly as productive these past two seasons, averaging less than 4.0 yards in that span. It feels like the made the cut based on name recognition. Jonathan Taylor is also coming off an injury-plagued season and it's fair to wonder if he'll be the dominant player he was in 2021, when he was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year.

Could Etienne have taken Taylor's or Kamara's spot? Maybe. Working against him is that he's only had one productive season. If he's able to break out as the scout suggests, he should then be able to make the list. The good news is that there's a legitimate chance it will happen.

Not having to recover from injury this offseason, Etienne was able to hone his skills. Also, the addition of Calvin Ridley to the offense should help him find lighter boxes to run against, which would in turn lead to an even more productive season.

In the end, it would have been great to see Etienne make ESPN's list but it doesn't matter that he was omitted as long as he helps the Jacksonville Jaguars win games this upcoming season.

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