Player Profile: Travis Etienne

Height: 5’10”
Weight: 215 lbs
School: Clemson
NFL Comparison: Alvin Kamara

Why you’re drafting him…

Before I jump into it, I’m sure the NFL comparison of Alvin Kamara jumps right off the page. Do I really think Etienne can be as good as Kamara? Yes, I really do, and their playstyles are extremely similar. Etienne may have had a “down year”, but he still amounted over 1,500 scrimmage yards and 16 touchdowns in only 12 games on the season. He’s a near lock to be one of the first two running backs drafted to the NFL, as him and Najee Harris seem to be the only two running backs of this class that are graded high enough to be potential first-round picks. Etienne is extremely explosive, but also fast in general, which is a deadly combination. If you let him get by you, he’s taking that thing to the house. He’s also got great balance and agility in the open field, which are imperative traits to possess in the NFL. Speaking of traits needed the in NFL these days, running backs HAVE to know how to catch the ball, and Etienne is an exceptional pass catcher. Over the last two seasons, he’s caught 85 balls for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns. He’s a very exciting prospect that should slot in as an immediate workhorse wherever he lands.

Needs to improve…

There’s not much to knock Etienne for, however, his vision could definitely improve. While watching game film, I could count a handful of times where Etienne missed an opportunity at the line for easier yardage, but every single running back is going to miss the hole from time to time. As long as he shows patience and allows the game to slow down for him, he could be a superior runner at the next level.

Prediction for 2021 NFL Draft…

He’ll be a top-40 pick in the NFL. I would say that he’s clear cut to go in the first round, but there’s a real chance that the running backs of this class could be slept on for entirely too long. If he goes in the first round, I’d imagine that it’ll be to the Steelers or the Jets, though there is a small part of me that thinks Arizona will take the leap on him at pick #16. He’ll bring a missing piece to any of these offenses and should factor in as the #1 guy in any of these backfields.

Dynasty fantasy football spin…

I will always favor the pass-catching running back over the bruiser, which is why Etienne is my RB1 for this draft class. People will be going back and forth all offseason as to who the RB1 is, but if you’re in a PPR league, it should be an easy choice. Etienne will be a top-three player off the board in 1QB leagues and will likely be a top-five player in most superflex drafts as well. Ideally, he’ll end up in Arizona after they cut ties with Kenyan Drake but I’m not sure how likely it will be for them to take a runner at #16 overall. Landing with the Jets or the Steelers could diminish his immediate fantasy value, but he’ll still have enough future value to stay as a top-three rookie pick.

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