Clemson’s Travis Etienne is widely considered one of the best running backs in the 2021 NFL Draft class, if not the best.
If you ask Etienne, in his mind, he is the best in his class.
“What makes me the best back in the draft is my ability to do more with less, being an all-around guy, being a guy who’s going to be out there each and every down,” he said recently.
NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah evidently agrees with Etienne, having ranked him as the No. 1 running back in his latest ranking of the top 50 draft-eligible prospects. Jeremiah also said following Clemson’s Pro Day earlier this month he thinks Etienne will be a late first-round pick.
Some pundits criticize taking a running back in the first round, saying it is bad value. However, Etienne believes the all-around ability he has to offer – as a runner, catching the ball out of the backfield, in pass protection and on special teams, as well – makes him worthy of a first-round selection in next month’s draft.
“I’m one of the best field guys in the draft, I’m able to do it all,” he said. “I feel like me being in the game, I possess a lot of things that are just God-given and most guys don’t possess. So, I feel like it’s just in me, and you’ve seen the film – I’m able to be out there for three downs, able to play special teams. So, just being able to impact the team each and every down I feel like is what makes me different and makes me worthy of the first round.”
Etienne’s accomplishments on the field speak for themselves. The Jennings, La., native leaves Clemson as the ACC career record-holder for rushing yards (4,952), total touchdowns (78), rushing touchdowns (70) and points (468), while he is the NCAA FBS record-holder for most career games scoring a touchdown (46 of his 55 career games).
Along with what he can add to an NFL team on the field, Etienne feels he can bring a lot to the table for an organization off the field and in the locker room, too.
“I’m a guy you don’t have to worry about – no distractions, no extra added things off the field,” he said. “So, you get a consistent guy, a great guy who’s going to work hard on and off the field, not going to bring any trouble to the team, no negative media to the team, things of that sort. So, you get a great guy who’s going to work hard and won’t cause any distractions to the team.”
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