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Travis Etienne

Early reports from OTAs positive

There's been some buzz around Jaguars' second-year running back Travis Etienne lately. A report yesterday (from a site called JaguarReport, so not exactly an unbiased source) says he "looks like his old self" from an explosiveness standpoint. Etienne missed his entire rookie season due to a Lisfranc injury.

That report can be found right here; it also talks about various other Jaguar-related observations. Rose-colored glasses or not, better to hear positive reports than negative, and figure out how to adjust your draft board later.

Etienne's old self is of course pre-NFL, his four years at Clemson. That was a pretty impressive career, which included some Heisman votes in two of his years and a four-year yards from scrimmage total that was the most in the history of the ACC. It was 15th in NCAA history.

That information can be found at College Football Reference. To keep from getting too historical, I limited the numbers to the last 30 years. By that measure, Etienne comes in 12th.

In the list below, active players are in bold. Some of those guys aren't actually on rosters, however. Table suggests that putting up big numbers in college can yield some stars, but also some guys who don't stick around the league for long.

Donnel Pumphrey744420132016San Diego State
Ron Dayne742919961999Wisconsin
Ricky Williams720619951998Texas
DeAngelo Williams674920022005Memphis
Jonathan Taylor658120172020Wisconsin
Royce Freeman643520142017Oregon
Mewelde Moore642320002003Tulane
Justin Jackson629820142017Northwestern
Damion Fletcher620620062009Southern Mississippi
Cedric Benson616120012004Texas
Travis Prentice611819961999Miami (OH)
Travis Etienne610720172020Clemson
Ito Smith598420142017Southern Mississippi
Dontrell Moore580020022005New Mexico
Myles Gaskin578820152018Washington
Garrett Wolfe575220042006Northern Illinois
Montee Ball573820092012Wisconsin
Larry Rose571520142017New Mexico State
Elijah McGuire569520132016Louisiana
LaMichael James566820092011Oregon
LaDainian Tomlinson565419972000TCU
Michael Hart560620042007Michigan
Darren Sproles558820012004Kansas State
Charles Sims557320092013West Virginia
Marshall Faulk556219911993San Diego State
Jarvion Franklin553720142017Western Michigan
Ken Simonton551619982001Oregon State
Kareem Hunt550020132016Toledo
Avon Cobourne549819992002West Virginia
Kenneth Dixon545220122015Louisiana Tech
Robbie Rouse544120092012Fresno State
Dalvin Cook539920142016Florida State
Michael Turner539220002003Northern Illinois
Denvis Manns531219951998New Mexico State
Taurean Henderson529920022005Texas Tech
Ameer Abdullah527820112014Nebraska
Warrick Dunn527319931996Florida State
Ray Rice526020052007Rutgers
Lance Dunbar525720082011North Texas
Montel Harris525620082012Temple
Demarco Murray525620072010Oklahoma
Matt Forte525020042007Tulane
Tyrell Fenroy523120052008Louisiana
Bobby Rainey522420082011Western Kentucky

Another report I saw recently said that Etienne's been doing a lot of work as a pass catcher. He himself said he'd like to be the next Deebo Samuel, so presumably not playing primarily wideout, but doing a lot of both. I'd like to see him definitely master one thing at the NFL level, either running or receiving, before getting too heavy a workload at both.

The Jaguars seem to have plenty of pass catchers right now, both from high-priced signings (Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Evan Engram) and also holdovers (Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault), as well as a couple of other veterans (Laquon Treadwell, Jamal Agnew) with uncertain roles. Running back looks iffier, with James Robinson coming off a torn Achilles, and the other backs on the roster either late-rounders or undrafted guys (Snoop Conner, Mekhi Sargent, Ryquell Armstead).

So it feels like the easiest path for Etienne to help the team and fantasy teams will be moving to the top of the running back depth chart. If I'm selecting him, it's with the idea he'll at the very least be a busy third-down back, but potentially at least splitting early-down carries. I think I'll need to see or hear more in the preseason before drafting him where I'm seeing him go in early drafts, despite that nice college production.

--Andy Richardson

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