Top 5 players under 25 on the Jaguars roster ahead of the 2023 season

Dec 11, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16).
Dec 11, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16). / Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean-USA TODAY
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No. 4 Jaguars player under 25 in 2023: Travis Etienne, RB

Current age: 24

Drafting running backs in the first round isn't as common as it was 20 years ago. In fact, you'll rarely ever see one get picked in the top 10. Bijan Robinson was the eighth overall selection this year but he's the exception, not the norm, and you would have to go back to 2018 to find one that was chosen in the top 5 when Saquon Barkley went second overall to the New York Giants.

This diminished demand for top running back talent in the first round of the draft made everyone scratch their head when Jacksonville selected Travis Etienne 25th overall in 2021. The fact that James Robinson, then a rookie, totaled 1,414 yards from scrimmage in 2020 made the decision look even more puzzling. But general manager Trent Baalke recognized what the former Clemson Tiger brought to the table.

Although Etienne lost his rookie campaign after suffering a Lisfranc tear in the preseason, things have worked out just fine for him and the Jaguars. The Louisiana native started the 2022 season behind James Robinson but eventually got more playing time and became the starter by Week 6. Realizing they had a three-down back in Etienne, the Jaguars shipped Robinson to the New York Jets before the trade deadline. Etienne then rewarded them with several clutch performances.

One that stands out was against the Los Angeles Chargers in Super Wild Card Weekend. Down 30-28 on fourth-and-1, Etienne sprinted 25 yards to get the Jaguars within field goal range. Firmly entrenched as RB1 in the depth chart in 2023, Etienne should once again put Jacksonville in the position to win games.