Travis Etienne

Jaguars To Reduce Travis Etienne’s Workload

Travis Etienne made his long-awaited debut with the Jaguars in 2022, and he delivered a strong season as the team’s lead running back. The former first-rounder is part of a more crowded RB room in Jacksonville, now, however, something which is expected to affect his usage rate.

Jacksonville turned lead back duties over to Etienne on a permanent basis midway through the 2022 campaign when they traded away James Robinson. The former was left with a sizeable workload, seeing 74% of running back carries following the trade. That came in part due to his effectiveness, but also the lack of other options the team had on the depth chart.

This offseason, the Jaguars have supplemented Snoop Conner and JaMycal Hasty with free agent signing D’Ernest Johnson and third-round rookie Tank Bigsby. Johnson showed signficant potential in a rotational role with the Browns, while Bigsby put up considerable production during a three-year career at Auburn. Those two are in line to play a notable supporting role in their first season in Duval County.

ESPN’s Michael DiRocco notes that Jacksonville’s moves at the position this year have been aimed at reducing Etienne’s workload moving forward. The Clemson product logged a snap share of 60% overall on the season – though that figure was higher following the Robinson trade. Overall, he totaled 1,125 yards on 220 carries (good for an average of 5.1 yards per attempt), adding 316 yards in the passing game. His aim, and that of the team, will be a setup allowing him to remain efficient on the ground and in the air while lessening the burden he is responsible for in the offense.

“I feel like it keeps the wear and tear off my body,” Etienne said. “I don’t have to go and bang myself up each and every play. I’ve got somebody else to take a couple licks off of me and I love that.”

Offensive coordinator Press Taylor confirmed that the RB pecking order and workload will be determined over the summer, but Etienne remains in line for signficant usage in 2023. On a team with a capable array of pass-catchers (especially considering the reinstatement of Calvin Ridley) and, now, a deeper group in the backfield, though, Etienne’s second NFL campaign should see him on the field slightly less often than his first.

Jags Eyeing Week 1 James Robinson Return

The Jaguars did not place James Robinson on their active/PUP list to start training camp, but coming off a late-December Achilles tear, the third-year running back’s early-season availability has been in question. Doug Pederson is envisioning Robinson being ready to go from the outset.

Robinson made his 2022 debut in team drills this week, per Michael DiRocco of The UDFA success story will not play in Jacksonville’s second preseason game, but, in classifying Robinson as “almost there,” Pederson is anticipating a Week 1 re-emergence.

It’s the expectation; it’s kind of the hope that he can be there at that point,” Pederson said of Robinson’s potential Week 1 availability, via Pro Football Talk’s Myles Simmons. “And, listen, if not, it’s OK. We’re comfortable with the guys behind him and we’ll go with what we have.”

Jacksonville having Robinson in uniform in Week 1 would position the team to, at long last, trot out both its top backs in a game. The team played 2021 without first-round pick Travis Etienne. After the Clemson product missed his rookie year, he has not experienced any setbacks in a return from a Lisfranc injury. The Jags also chose Snoop Conner in the fifth round this year.

Cam Akers‘ late-season return last year showed how quickly running backs can surmount Achilles tears, though the Rams back was not exactly himself during his late-season cameo. It has been nearly eight months since Robinson went down. It will be interesting to see Robinson’s 2022 form and how Pederson uses he and Etienne. The former has been the Jaguars’ leading rusher in each of his two years, following up a UDFA rookie-record 1,414 scrimmage yards with a better YPC average (4.7) last season.

Because of his UDFA status, Robinson is already extension-eligible. But the Jaguars are on their third head coach of the Illinois State alum’s career. It would make sense for the team to determine how Robinson fits in Pederson’s offense and see how he looks post-Achilles before proceeding down that road. Robinson, 24, can be kept via ERFA and RFA tenders through 2023.

Jaguars’ Travis Etienne Cleared To Practice

Travis Etienne missed the entirety of his rookie season, but there is further reason for optimism that he will be available at the beginning of the 2022 campaign. The running back has been cleared to practice in full, as detailed by Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk

Head coach Doug Pederson confirmed that Etienne will be “set to work without restrictions” when OTAs begin this week. That will be a welcomed sign for the 2021 first-rounder, whom the team selected with the hopes of continuing the success he had with quarterback Trevor Lawrence at Clemson. A Lisfranc injury cost him his entire rookie campaign, however, and the team’s offense finished with the lowest point total in the league.

The 23-year-old provided an encouraging update in February, when he first began working out again. That pointed to a recovery in time for at least training camp, which would of course have a significant effect on the team’s running game and re-vamped offense in general. With James Robinson having suffered an Achilles injury in December, Etienne would likely be in line for a starter’s workload right away in 2022.

There were more positive signs in April, when Etienne returned to on-field drills. At that time, he confirmed that his recovery was still headed in the right direction. “If I didn’t know I had a screw in my foot, I couldn’t tell”, he said, adding that he was leaning towards having the screw removed. Regardless of his decision on that front, his return to full on-field work will provide Pederson with another intriguing young option as the Jaguars look to take a step forward in 2022.

Latest On Jaguars RB Travis Etienne

After having to sit out his entire rookie season with a foot injury, Travis Etienne believes he’s just about back to full health. According to ESPN’s Michael DiRocco, the Jaguars running back expects to be fully cleared by the time training camp comes around.

Etienne is already participating in his team’s voluntary offseason conditioning program with new head coach Doug Pederson. The running back estimated that he’s 85-90% recovered from his Lisfranc injury, and while he’s still limited “in some of his weight-room work,” he’s been able to take part in most of the on-field drills.

“If I didn’t know I had a screw in my foot, I couldn’t tell,” Etienne said of his recovery (via DiRocco). “I feel like that’s a testament to where I’m at in my transition and how I’m healing.

“The screw is there. I think I will take it out. I could leave it there forever. I know most guys say leave it there, it never bothers them, but I just don’t want to be 40 years old with a screw in my foot, really.”

Considered a top prospect in the 2020 class, the Clemson product surprised many by returning for his senior season. His yards-per-carry figure dropped from 7.8 to 5.4, which probably helped the Jaguars secure him towards the end of the first round at No. 25. Despite the dropoff, he still had two 1,600-yard seasons and 70 career rushing TDs to his credit. As DiRocco writes, former head coach Urban Meyer was expected to use the rookie in “a Percy Harvin-type role,” but the preseason foot injury ended up knocking out the running back for the entire season. Of course, the injury also meant Etienne didn’t have to really deal with the turmoil surround Meyer’s brief tenure in Jacksonville, providing him with a clean slate heading into the 2022 campaign.

“Just seeing the results, you’re definitely like, ‘Whew, if there was any year to miss, I missed a great one,'” he told DiRocco.

With a new coaching staff in place, it will be interesting to see how Etienne is utilized during his first NFL season. Fellow RB James Robinson suffered an Achilles injury in December, so Etienne could find himself getting the bulk of the carries early in the season.

Jaguars Looking At OL Ekwonu With Top Pick

We wrote a bit in January about NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu potentially being the best offensive lineman in the draft. Well, he certainly thinks so, as he told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine Thursday that he’d “definitely deserve” to be drafted No. 1 overall, according to Darryl Slater of

He’s not totally off base in his thinking. ESPN’s Mel Kiper mocked Ekwonu to Jacksonville in his latest mock draft just before the Combine. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, many at the Combine, including ESPN’s Todd McShay, expected Ekwonu to blow up in Indianapolis.

There’s already been a bit of talk connecting Ekwonu to the Jaguars. General manager Trent Baalke has a tendency to prefer explosive linemen and Ekwonu demonstrated his explosiveness in field drills including an impressive sub-5.00 second 40-yard dash. Baalke and new head coach Doug Pederson will be looking to put together a group at offensive line that can protect former No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence and create holes for running backs James Robinson and Travis Etienne.

Jawaan Taylor is expected to compete with Walker Little for the right tackle job. Captain Brandon Linder should return to form at center after MCL and ankle injuries forced him to miss a large part of the 2021 NFL season. Andrew Norwell is expected to hit the free agent market and Cam Robinson could join him if the team decides not to utilize their franchise tag on Robinson for the second straight year. Veteran sixth-man Tyler Shatley was recently re-signed and Ben Bartch could help out at guard. So the versatility of Ekwonu could line him up as the perfect choice for Jacksonville’s current situation, where lots of question marks surround the depth chart. Even so, the Jaguars could also fall in love with Evan Neal, who is largely seen as the top pure tackle in the draft.

Still, the redshirt sophomore out of Raleigh is a young, talented prospect with the ability to dominate at tackle or guard. Even if he slips past Jacksonville at No. 1 overall, don’t expect him to be available after both New York teams get a chance to draft. Ekwonu will aim to be only the third Wolfpack offensive lineman in history to be picked in the first round, the highest-drafted Wolfpack prospect since Bradley Chubb in 2018, and, above that, the first top overall pick out of NC State since Mario Williams in 2006.

Latest On Jaguars’ Travis Etienne

Things didn’t go according to plan for the Jaguars in 2021, but with an new head coach in Doug Pederson, former first-overall pick Trevor Lawrence and a second straight No. 1 pick this April, there is plenty of cause for optimism in Duval County. Another reason the team may take a step forward in 2022 is the expected return of running back Travis EtienneAccording to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk, he is making progress towards being available to start the season. 

The other first round pick of the Jaguars in 2021, Etienne missed his entire rookie season due to a Lisfranc injury. That was a huge blow to the team’s offense, considering not only the talent he displayed in an illustrious career at Clemson, but his connection with Lawrence. In his absence – and, later on, that of fellow RB James Robinson – the Jags finished last in the NFL in points per game in 2021, with 14.9. Their rushing average (103 yards per game), while more respectable, would certainly stand to improve with a health halfback tandem.

My foot is doing much better“, the 23-year-old said in a recent interview. “[I] really just got back into the gym for the first time… So that’s been good and I’ve been running for a while now. I’m kind of getting to that 80% to 85% range. Definitely, just heading in the right direction”.

With a new coaching staff that will be focused in large part on rebuilding the team’s offense, much is expected of the unit in 2022. New offensive coordinator Press Taylor, Alper notes, didn’t specify if former HC Urban Meyer‘s plan to use Etienne at wideout would remain in place. Regardless of how he is deployed, the ex-Tigers star would provide a much-needed boost to Jacksonville if he is able to fully recover.

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/22/21

We’ve compiled a list of players who were placed or activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list today. In some instances (including Christian McCaffrey and Travis Etienne), players activated from the list remain on IR:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Placed on list: T Le’Raven Clark

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Jaguars Place Travis Etienne On IR

2:33pm: Etienne’s injury Monday night will knock him out for the season. The Jaguars placed the Clemson product on injured reserve. While the NFL is again allowing players to return from IR after three weeks, that only applies after the season begins. Due to landing on IR now, Etienne cannot play for the Jags until 2022. This certainly marks a brutal blow for a player who was on the 2020 first-round radar but opted to return for his senior season.

Jacksonville has the depth to withstand this blow, but after surprisingly selecting Etienne in Round 1, the team is now down a key asset that stood to help Trevor Lawrence. Etienne and Lawrence starred together at the ACC powerhouse for the past three years. Etienne’s four-year, $12.898MM rookie contract is fully guaranteed.

1:31pm: Jaguars first-round running back Travis Etienne has been diagnosed with a serious Lisfranc injury that will sideline him for several months (Twitter link via’s Ian Rapoport). Doctors will monitor his progress from here, but the injury is a potential season ender. 

The injury forced him out of Monday night’s preseason loss to the Saints. At minimum, doctors say Etienne will be out for 12 weeks following surgery. Considered a top prospect in the 2020 class, the Clemson product surprised many by returning for his senior season. His yards-per-carry figure dropped from 7.8 to 5.4, which probably helped the Jaguars secure him at No. 25 overall.

Despite the dropoff, the Jags were excited to add him given his upside, 1,600-yard seasons (2x), and 70 career rushing TDs. Even though he was outshined by Alabama’s Najee Harris last year, he’s a solid prospect in his own right. Some scouts say that Etienne even improved in certain parts of the game, like receiving and pass blocking.

Fortunately, the Jaguars are still well equipped at RB with rising star James Robinson and veteran Carlos Hyde leading the way. They also plan to deploy him him at WR occasionally when he returns, but they’ve got D.J. Chark, Marvin Jones, and Laviska Shenault to hold down the fort in the interim.

Jaguars Sign Travis Etienne

The Jaguars have agreed to terms with first-round running back Travis Etienne (Twitter link via’s Ian Rapoport). As the No. 25 overall pick, he’ll earn $12.9MM on his four-year deal. Etienne doesn’t have any offset language in his contract, just like No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence

With Etienne, Lawrence, and new head coach Urban Meyer in the fold, things are looking up for the Jaguars after last year’s freefall. Considered a top prospect in the 2020 class, the Clemson product surprised many by returning for his senior season. His yards-per-carry figure dropped from 7.8 to 5.4, which probably helped the Jaguars secure him towards the end of the first round.

Despite the dropoff, he’s got two 1,600-yard seasons and 70 career rushing TDs to his credit. Even though he was outshined by Alabama’s Najee Harris, the Jaguars are still high on his potential. Some scouts say that Etienne even improved in certain parts of the game, like receiving and pass blocking.

At 5-foot-10 and 215 pounds, the rookie has the strength, speed, versatility, and elusiveness to become a three-down back. Now, he’ll fight for time in an RB group that also includes rising star James Robinson and veteran Carlos Hyde.

Poll: Which Rookie Running Back Will Finish With Most Rushing Yards?

Quarterbacks, per usual, dominated this year’s pre-draft coverage. The Falcons made Kyle Pitts the highest-drafted tight end in NFL history, and four wide receivers then went off the board in the top 20. Running backs, as they have done in a few drafts over the past decade, waited.

While two went in Round 1, the Jaguars’ Travis Etienne pick preceded a 60-pick stretch during which just one running back — the Broncos’ Javonte Williams choice — went off the board. The 2021 draft matches 2016 and 2003 for the fewest backs chosen in the top 80 (three) in the common draft era (1967-present), continuing a grim era for this once-storied position. But several of this year’s draftees have quick paths to key roles.

Linked to Najee Harris ahead of the draft, the Steelers took the Alabama standout at No. 24. Harris will join a Steelers team that ranked last in rushing in 2020. Although the Alabama product scored 30 touchdowns in his senior season and topped 1,200 rushing yards in two straight years, he will now play behind an offensive line that went through considerable turnover this offseason. The Steelers lost 17 Pro Bowls on their offensive line this year. They will replace Maurkice Pouncey and Alejandro Villanueva with far less experienced players, and David DeCastro‘s replacement (Trai Turner) struggled in 2020. Will Harris’ talent be enough to overcome significant O-line concerns in Pittsburgh?

Etienne joins a Jags team that just saw James Robinson set the rookie UDFA record for scrimmage yards (1,414) despite missing two games in 2020. Jacksonville also signed Carlos Hyde, who played for Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Etienne spent time at receiver during the Jags’ offseason program but should be expected to contribute heavily in the backfield. Like Harris, Etienne stayed in college for four years. He twice surpassed 1,600 rushing yards and totaled 78 college TDs — most of which coming alongside No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence — but will this unusual setup (for a first-round back, that is) translate to rookie-year production?

The Broncos traded up four spots for Williams in Round 2, Pro Football Focus’ top-rated back in this class, and chose the North Carolina product 36th overall. Williams teamed with Jets draftee Michael Carter to form one of the nation’s top backfield tandems. Williams compiled just one 1,000-yard season with the Tar Heels but led Division I-FBS with 75 broken tackles in 2020. The Broncos have Melvin Gordon signed through 2021, but the John Elway-era addition does not appear to be a lock to hold off Williams for the starting role.

The rest of the rookie field includes third-rounder Trey Sermon (49ers), Carter (fourth round, Jets) and a host of backs ticketed for early-career backup roles. While injuries certainly will hit the running back position, potentially forcing some of the later-round picks into the fray, Sermon and Carter have the best bets of seeing steady action among the mid- and late-round selections.

An Oklahoma and Ohio State product, Sermon also played four years. He averaged more than seven yards per carry in each of his past two, though he never topped 1,000 on the ground. Lead 49ers back Raheem Mostert is coming off an injury-marred season. The Jets added Tevin Coleman, who joined Mostert in missing most of last season, but do not have another back with much experience. This could allow Carter (two 1,000-yard years at North Carolina) early upward mobility, despite his 5-foot-8 frame.

Which rookie back will rush for the most yards in 2021? Who are the later-round candidates or UDFAs who can join these players as early contributors? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.