By: Little Italy (Publisher)
Follow on Twitter: @LILITALY853
In this series I will take one player from each team to add to my All 32 Bust Team for 2021.
RB: Travis Etienne
This team is one of the tougher ones to project, as we have new weapons and a new coaching staff to try to figure out. There are many players on this team who could be Bust candidates this season, but there are also paths for these same players to be breakout candidates. Therefore, I find it best to turn to the position with the biggest question marks surrounding it now. The position with biggest question marks is the running back position. The thing is we have no idea how this coaching staff plans to utilize the talent in this backfield. You have a returning back who crushed as an undrafted rookie last season compiling over 1,400 total yards and double-digit touchdowns. Yet, you bring in one of the top backs from the 2021 Draft Class in Travis Etienne. Urban Meyer has stated that the team is all about adding explosive players, which Etienne certainly is, but Meyer in the same breath revealed the team was actually targeting Kadarius Toney with that pick, until the Giants screwed it up. This wanting of Toney fits that adding of explosive player’s narrative.
Etienne could very well be used as that explosive joker player, as he worked OTA’s as a receiver, but the team already has that guy in Laviska Shenault, who has been generating A LOT of buzz over the last week himself. So what is the plan for Etienne? Well, as of now I believe James Robinson is the back to own in this backfield. Calm down and put the pitchforks away I am well aware that Etienne is the far more superior talent here out of the two, but he has some strikes against him coming in to year one. Strike 1 is the fact that he is a rookie. Though this is the easiest position to make, the jump to from the college level there is still a bit of a learning curve players have to navigate. Strike 2 comes up front with the offensive line and not being particularly good (Middle of the pack) last season in second level yards and open field blocking. This deficiency up front could shine a spotlight on Etienne’s efficiency concerns as a runner this season, as last season we saw a noticeable dip in his yards after contact due to Clemson’s line being much worse than it was in 2019. Strike 3 is the fact that he struggles as a pass blocker. This could cost him time as he works on that part of his game, as James Robinson proved to be very good in that area in 2020.
Ultimately, I see this backfield going through James Robinson as that primary back in 2021. Etienne will be the player to come in a spell him when needed. Could Etienne inherit more work as the year goes on, absolutely, but to start the year I think he is going to be slow out of the gate. This offense ideally wants to be a run based attack, Darrell Bevell’s bread and butter. However, historically this what Urban Meyers likes to utilize as well. The staff would love nothing more than to limit the drop backs of Trevor Lawrence in year one (30 attempts a game) and rely on this backfield, which is a nice thought, but ultimately will depend on their defense. If the Jags find themselves down in games, the run game goes out the window, whereas if they are in control this team will rely on the backfield talent.
With all these questions still out there I think Etienne’s current ADP is just too high and leaves the door to heartbreak open just wide enough for fantasy owners to fall into. As of today (June 10), I would much rather target fellow rookies Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, and Trey Sermon over Travis Etienne. Yes, they all have their own question marks, but they all have an easier path to meaningful roles in their respective offenses then Etienne in year one.