One of the most intriguing things to watch for the Jacksonville Jaguars as we’re deep in OTAs and getting ready to get into training camp is the progress of running back Travis Etienne. In the second preseason game of the 2021 season, as a rookie Etienne suffered a Lisfranc injured that cut his rookie season short. When the former Clemson running back was drafted in the first round, the vision was for him to be kind of a do-everything offensive weapon. Running the ball, catching the ball out of the backfield and lining up at wide receiver. So far in OTAs by the sounds of it from those in attendance, Etienne looks like he’s not suffering at all and fully recovered.
Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports was recently at OTAs for the Jaguars and had this interesting observation:
The Jacksonville Jaguars spent all that money on Christian Kirk. They spent a nice chunk of change on Zay Jones in free agency, too. And the connection between Marvin Jones and quarterback Trevor Lawrence should only get better in Year 2. But at OTAs on Tuesday, the wide receiver I couldn’t stop watching was running back Travis Etienne.
Etienne was jokingly asked about swapping his designation to wide receiver based on what he was doing in OTAs, but the Jaguars second-year running back explained it’s all about positioning and getting good matchups, but if he could be like San Francisco 49ers playmaker Deebo Samuel, he’d love it.
It’s expected that Etienne is going to get a bunch of carries out of the backfield and share some of the load with James Robinson, however Etienne does bring a lot more versatility to the table and could potentially end up being a playmaker on the field at the same time as Robinson, just lining up at receiver. Etienne was an extremely productive pass catcher at Clemson during his four years, catching over 100 passes for over 1,000 yards. With the revamp on offense, the Jaguars are going to need all of the playmakers they can get for second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence to make the leap in 2022.