2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: RB Travis Etienne, Clemson

The Giants ended up getting a solid running back from Clemson by the name of Wayne Gallman. With Gallman set to hit free agency, what would Travis Etienne, also from Clemson, have to offer New York?
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RB TRAVIS ETIENNE 

Height: 5'10"
Weight: 210 lbs.
Class: Senior
School: Clemson


Etienne is one of the more electrifying college football players in recent memory. The senior running back could have easily been a top 50 selection in the 2020 NFL Draft but declared to go back to school and play another season with star quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

According to 247 Sports, Etienne was a four-star recruit, the 15the overall running back, and the 213th overall player in the 2017 recruiting class.

He attended Jennings High School in Jennings, Louisiana. He was also Clemson’s last signing in that 2017 recruiting class, and he broke Wayne Gallman’s record of 17 career 100-yard games for the Tigers.

Now that Etienne will transition to the next level, he should find himself somewhere in the top 32 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft.


Notables

Etienne's college accomplishments are eye-popping, to say the least. He’s a two-time offensive ACC Player of the Year and a two-time ACC overall Player of the Year. He’s been first-team all ACC three times, and he’s the ACC career rushing leader. He also won a college championship in 2018, the year he was a First Team All-American.


Traits

Pitbull might call him "Mr. Worldwide" because he can effectively run east & west, just as well as he runs north & south. 

Etienne possesses a rare blend of control, contact balance, acceleration, and explosiveness. 

Etienne is rarely deterred upon initial contact from defenders who don’t execute adequate tackling mechanics (he runs through a lot of arm tackles). 

His excellent athletic ability allows him to reach a second gear of acceleration and burst that makes secondary players look silly at times.

He’s a phenomenal, dual-threat athlete whose skill set transitions well to the NFL level. He has rare foot speed and does an excellent job finishing runs with an immense amount of physicality. 


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He is an excellent open space runner who can make defenders miss with his speed and quickness while also not being shy to lower his shoulder and pick up yards through brute force. He’s very shifty in space and hard to locate. 

The NFL is all about creating explosive plays, and Etienne will allow teams to do this more effectively. Etienne also constantly churns his legs when corralled and falls forward often.

His vision is solid as a runner, finding cutback lanes and showing a solid one-cut ability to explode towards the second level of a defense. 

Clemson used him a lot in their screen game, and Etienne excelled. He has natural hands and has the route running ability to be used down the field. He’s a true three-down back with big-play potential.

He’s certainly willing to execute his assignments in pass protection, and he never shies away from contact, but, like most young running backs, he could improve in this area. May have to lower his base a bit, stop lunging upon contact, and do a better job absorbing the defender who has momentum. 

These are correctable with coaching and experience. Overall, Etienne is a top player entering the 2021 NFL Draft. He possesses so many integral traits that allow running backs to flourish at the next level. He will be a household name in his rookie NFL season. 


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