The NY Jets could turn to the 2021 NFL Draft as they look to upgrade the running back position. And Clemson’s Travis Etienne represents one of the best options if they choose to address the position early.
Etienne is widely considered to be one of the best running backs in this year’s class and he’s been frequently seen as a player projected to join the Jets in mock drafts this offseason.
The two-time Consensus All-American joined Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks on the Move the Sticks Podcast to discuss his NFL future and he spoke a little about his connection to the Jets.
Etienne said that he feels his “game would fit perfectly with the Jets” and that he would be “excited” to run behind promising young left tackle Mekhi Becton.
Could Travis Etienne be a target for the NY Jets?
Etienne specifically noted the Jets’ outside-zone scheme under new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and how a lot of running backs have found considerable success in a similar scheme coached by San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan.
And if LaFleur carries over a similar scheme to the one that he was a part of in San Francisco, it’s easy to see Etienne finding success.
The 22-year-old is one of the fastest and most explosive running backs in the draft having racked up just shy of 5,000 yards during his four years at Clemson.
He is the ACC’s all-time leader in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns, points scored, and yards from scrimmage while he’s also the NCAA all-time leader in total games with a touchdown with a whopping 46.
Etienne is one of the most productive running backs in college football history and is widely viewed as a top-three player at his position in this class.
Many have Etienne as a Day 1 prospect with some projecting him to be drafted as high as 23 when the Jets are on the board. Some have him as more of an early-Day 2 player, with very few having him fall past the second round.
The Jets’ running back depth chart is rather inexperienced, even after the addition of veteran Tevin Coleman in the offseason. The likes of Ty Johnson, Josh Adams, and La’Mical Perine round out a promising, but unproven group.
Etienne would undoubtedly be a significant addition, but there is an argument to be made that the Jets should address other more important positions early such as the offensive line or cornerback.
With as many needs as the Jets have, drafting a running back early does feel like a bit of an oversight.
It should also be noted that in the 20+ years that general manager Joe Douglas has had a job in the NFL, his team has only selected a running back in the top-50 one time — that coming in 2000 (his first year as a scout) when the Baltimore Ravens selected Jamal Lewis fifth overall.
Nonetheless, Travis Etienne certainly believes he would be a great fit with the Jets. Only time will tell if the Jets feel the same way.