Jags’ Travis Etienne listed as an under-the-radar player for the AFC

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The Jacksonville Jaguars and their fans didn’t get to see much of first-round selection Travis Etienne last season due to a Lisfranc injury he sustained in the preseason. As a result, he was placed on season-ending injured reserve and had to turn his attention to 2022.

Now, with his rehab out of the way and organized team activities ongoing, Etienne is back. Not only is he back, though, but he’s been one of the standouts this offseason, which is encouraging even though the pads haven’t gone on yet.

With a few OTA sessions left, it seems the Jags could be considering Etienne as a utility player as the team has been giving him looks as a receiver in addition to as a running back. That could mean big things are ahead for Etienne under Doug Pederson’s scheme, which would be huge for the franchise’s most important player Trevor Lawrence.

With the Jags’ RB1, James Robinson, coming off an Achilles tear, Etienne could also see a significant amount of carries as a running back this season. For the aforementioned reasons, CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr listed Etienne on his list of potential under-the-radar players to watch in the AFC in 2022.

Here is what he had to specifically say about Etienne, who the Jags took 25th overall last season:

Missing all of his rookie year with a Lisfranc injury, the Jaguars offense will be set up for Travis Etienne to shine. Doug Pederson’s West Coast-based scheme will give Etienne plenty of targets in the backfield, especially while James Robinson is taking time to rehab from his injury. Remember, Etienne left Clemson as the ACC’s all-time leader in rushing yards (4,952), scrimmage yards (6,107), rushing touchdowns (70), and scrimmage touchdowns (78).

Etienne should get his fair share of touches until Robinson recovers, as he’s the X-factor in Jacksonville’s new-look offense. Reaching 1,000 yards from scrimmage is not out of the question.

The league moved to a 17-game format last season, so in today’s game, multiple good running backs are needed to make it through a season. Additionally, fans have seen a two-running back system work well recently and the Dallas Cowboys’ usage of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard is a prime example. While Elliott garnered just over 1,000 rushing yards, Pollard was able to contribute 1,096 total yards to their offense last season.

When training camp arrives, we’ll know more about where Robinson is with his recovery and can decipher what workload would be appropriate for Etienne. Robinson has started running again (though not at 100%) and posted a video last week of him making progress from the torn Achilles he sustained in December.

Regardless, having a dynamic duo isn’t a bad thing for the Jags, and if Etienne proves to be an under-the-radar player, it would take the workload off Robinson who has had to be the Jags’ main source of offense for the most part since 2020.