In his first full year in the NFL, the Jaguars’ Travis Etienne proved that taking running backs in the first round might not be such a bad call.
After being sidelined his entire rookie year with a foot injury, Etienne tallied just shy of 1,500 total yards this past season. While his numbers were hefty on their own, it was how Etienne managed those yards that caught the eye of the NFL’s Next Gen Stats.
When compiling the league’s most explosive offensive players, NFL.com’s Nick Shook assembled a list of all qualified players who had at least 100 carries, with 20 or more of those rushes going for 10-plus yards.
Out of the entire NFL, Etienne was the league’s third most explosive player.
Etienne collected 26 rushes of 10-plus yards and hit speeds of 15 miles per hour or greater on 56 rushes. With 220 carries to his name last year, Etienne hit 15-plus mph over 25% of the time.
It was plays like this that show just how quick Etienne can be in the open field.
But it did not stop there.
Etienne ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in 2020 and showed he has not lost any of that speed.
He came in second in the NFL last year, behind only Fields, with six rushes that reached over 20 miles per hour.
For good measure, Etienne also added 13 total runs that earned 10 or more yards over expected.
One example of those runs helped earn the team a playoff win.
Etienne finished 2022 as the league’s eighth leading rusher, trailing Christian McCaffrey by just 14 yards and Fields by less than 20.
Over the final six weeks of play for the Jags, including the playoffs, Etienne eclipsed over 100 yards three times.
While his rookie year may have been a wash, the Jaguars may have found themselves their next great running back. Maybe Etienne will be the Jaguars’ running back that can make a case for the Hall of Fame.