With the 25th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars shocked everyone by selecting running back Travis Etienne. The Jaguars already had a great running back in James Robinson, so the NFL world was surprised to see Urban Meyer invest such a high pick in the position. However, early reports make it sound like Travis Etienne will be used more as a receiving back, and the runner himself recently said that Trevor Lawrence is helping him learn “real receiver routes”.
Travis Etienne Improving As A Receiver Thanks to Trevor Lawrence
Adjusting to the NFL is no easy task, and Etienne mentioned that being with Lawrence has helped him improve his receiving abilities in the offseason. Etienne and Lawrence were both teammates at Clemson, so there is obviously a built-in rapport between the two. The running back had some nice hands in college, but Clemson didn’t have him run “real receiver routes” all that often. From the sound of it, that is going to change in the NFL, and Etienne said that “having Trev here…has really been great and really helped me just speed up that process”.
For those keeping track at home, this isn’t the first time Etienne has made headlines for his work as a receiver. The first-round pick notoriously spent the entirety of rookie minicamp working as a wide receiver, as Urban Meyer believed he already knew how to run between the tackles. All signs point towards the rookie being a major part of this passing attack, and we already know the hybrid receiver/running back role receives a lot of work in an Urban Meyer offense.
Throughout his time in college, Meyer has made this hybrid role a key part of the offense when he has a player capable of executing at a high level. Percy Harvin and Curtis Samuel both thrived in this role, and Etienne appears to be the next in line for this assignment. It will be interesting to see how the first-year head coach divides playing time between Robinson, Etienne, and second-year gadget receiver Laviska Shenault.
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