Travis Etienne brings explosive speed for Jaguars
At last, the Jaguars have a game-changing explosive speed back to be featured in the offense with Trevor Lawrence.
The Jaguars want Lawrence to have weapons around him and running back Travis Etienne is exactly what Coach Urban Meyer was looking for to help make his offense more explosive.
After selecting Lawrence No. 1 overall, the Jaguars used their second first-round pick at No. 25 to select Etienne.
Etienne played three seasons at Clemson with Lawrence. And Etienne was a game changer similar to Lawrence. He scored a touchdown in 46 of 55 career games and closed out his career as the leading rusher in ACC history with 4,952 yards.
Big numbers:Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne combined for almost 10 miles of offense at Clemson
''Travis got that gift,'' Meyer said Friday during Etienne's introductory news conference with Lawrence. ''The moment he touches the ball, there's a chance he's going. I saw firsthand the violence that he plays with. Speed wins.''
There's a chance Etienne could be possibly featured as speed back, but also as a receiving threat and their primary threat to get the ball on jet sweep plays.
He's gifted, a versatile talent who similar to Lawrence that he has been successful at every level of football he's participated in since youth football.
At Clemson, Etienne was prolific. In two of his three seasons with the Tigers, Etienne rushed for more than 1,600 yards. He scored 70 career touchdowns and caught 102 passes for 12,155 yards and eight TDs.
''My work speaks for itself,'' Etienne said. ''I feel like I'm only getting better. I just got to get into the weight room and bulk up.''
Throughout the past three seasons, Etienne said he worked alongside Lawrence to become a better pass-catching back. He repeatedly caught passes from Lawrence after practices and extensively caught passes from the Jugs machine.
''In the modern day era of the running back position, you got to be a three-down back and check down runs really goes a long way,'' Etienne said. ''I was working with Trev throughout those seasons and I think it helped me get to where I am at today.''
General manager Trent Baalke said it was Etienne's versatility that convinced them the most to select him in the first round.
“If you go back to his college film, I think you see he’s an explosive player, can multi-align, can detach, can come out of the backfield,'' Baalke said. ''So, he offers a tremendous amount of versatility in the pass game, as well as that explosive play-making ability that you covet.”
Etienne said he couldn't have found a more perfect fit than getting drafted by the Jaguars. During Thursday night's draft, Etienne sat in front of his television, hoping the Jaguars would draft him.
“I feel like it provides you with a sense of normalcy having Trevor here just being with him the past three years,'' Etienne said. ''I feel that if I was with or without Trevor, I’d be making plays, that’s kind of what I’m here to do. I’m just thankful that I have Trevor and we’re on the same team. We don’t have to fight against each other.''
The Jaguars already have running back James Robinson, who as an undrafted rookie last season rushed for 1,070 yards and scored seven touchdowns last season. The Jaguars also signed veteran running back Carlos Hyde in free agency.
''I see Carlos and James the 1-2, downhill, powerful running backs,'' Meyer said. ''And I see Travis—there are times where we could be in two-backs and Travis is a guy that goes out. Or we’re still playing with it, but he’s certainly a third-down back and he’s a guy that’s a match-up issue for the defense.
''Our goal is to be at the top fourth of every position and I think we solidified that with James, Carlos and Travis. So, we’re good at running back.”
Knowing that Lawrence was the presumptive No. 1 overall for months and would end up in Jacksonville, Etienne said he had hoped to join him with the Jaguars.
''I felt it was the best pick they could have made,'' Etienne said. ''I did have it in the back of my mind that I might have a chance to reunite with Trev. I'm just happy and excited and blessed. I'm ready to get to work with Trev and just being his teammate for three years, we have built that camaraderie. I don't have to work on getting to know someone else, I know Trevor. It's a great feeling, he's a hard worker and I'm a hard worker and we have the same common goal to have great things happen on that field.'