The Jacksonville Jaguars reunite the number one overall pick with one of his college teammates with the 25th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.
After selecting Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars reunited him with his college teammate, running back Travis Etienne with the 25th pick in the draft. Ettiene will give the Jaguars another fast and explosive offensive playmaker to surround Lawrence with along with wide receivers Laviska Shenault and DJ Chark and runner James Robinson.
Etienne spent four years with the Tigers, surpassing over 1,000 scrimmage yards every year in which he was the starter for Clemson. Carrying the ball 686 times over four years for 4,952 yards and 70 touchdowns on the ground, Etienne proved he could handle a full workload and excel as the primary back. He was also active in the passing game, catching 102 passes for 1,155 yards and eight touchdowns through the air.
On the field, Etienne is an explosive runner who wins with burst and unmatched straight-line speed. He darts through holes along the offensive line and if he can’t just straight up beat defenders to the endzone he’s not afraid to lower his shoulder and run over some defensive backs when he needs to.
While adding Etienne no doubt brings top-end talent and speed to the Jaguars that they didn’t have in the running back room before this selection, it is a bit of a reach and a head-scratcher. When you consider that they already have a running back who had a top-10 season for running backs last year in James Robinson, and the other more pressing needs (safety and defensive line spring to mind).
Robinson provided the Jaguars with the first-round production despite being an undrafted free agent coming out of college. After getting that kind of production from Robinson, a UDFA, selecting a running back in the first round the very next year just doesn’t sit quite right. Especially when, while yes he’s fast and explosive, Etienne does have legitimate questions surrounding his vision out of the backfield.
This was an unnecessary luxury pick by the Jaguars when they didn’t have the luxury to use the pick on a very replaceable position. With the draft’s top safety and top interior defensive linemen still available, selecting a running back when already possessing a more than serviceable option. While it’s a flashy and exciting pick, it may very well end up proving to be a mistake by the new Jaguars leadership.