Taking a running back in the first round is not always the smartest move. The position has undoubtedly been de-valued in recent years as teams know that they can fill the position with a group of solid backs and do not necessarily need one featured guy. That being said, there will always be high draft slots for elite players at the position and we appear to have an elite-level running back in the 2021 NFL Draft class.
Travis Etienne was fully expected to enter the 2020 NFL Draft but decided to stay at Clemson for another year. This running back class will have plenty of talent and depth, but I have a hard time believing that any of them will be able to take over for Etienne at RB1.
Etienne is a smart and instinctive runner who does a nice job of finding the proper hole and getting upfield quickly. He has elite burst through the hole and incredible raw speed in the open field. Etienne does not have the most short-area quickness, but when he finds a crease, he is a threat to take it to the house at any time.
The Clemson product is also a tough and aggressive finisher who does a nice job of playing with a low pad level and shows impressive contact balance. Etienne has an impressive combination of speed and power that will play at the next level. Adding Etienne to the mix would give the Atlanta Falcons another exciting offensive playmaker to work with. Do they have other needs? Sure, but this would be an extremely fun fit.