Clemson’s defense in 2018 got the most attention and all anybody wants to talk about going into the 2019 season seems to be about quarterback Trevor Lawrence and his young, big and athletic receiving crew. While I wouldn’t say running back Travis Etienne is forgotten about but he seems to be in the back of most minds. Here we take a look at three reasons why Travis Etienne may be the top NFL Draft eligible running back.
Travis Etienne is just an explosive mover in everything that he does. Coming off the ball, hitting the hole or even going out in a route Etienne covers so much ground in his movements and does it with such burst and quickness. Not only allow him to hit the hole fast to get to the second level but he’s able to maintain his speed while making cuts. Etienne may lack true long speed, but he has an advantage as he can get started so fast and make you miss causing you to have to catch him.
Even though Travis Etienne is listed at 215lbs he doesn’t look to be have much power, but he’s able to generate some power from his explosive speed. While building up that speed it allows Etienne to run through attempted arm tackles and from the above clip you can see he has the willingness to lower the shoulder to help pick up extra yards. Etienne also runs with good balance which enables him to bounce off body shots and even stay on his feet when making lateral cuts. Very rarely does Etienne get tackled on first contact and usually has to be dragged down.
It’s one thing to be fast and explosive but if you can’t make defenders miss you are going to be a limited back. But Etienne is able to make explosive cuts to not only get away from a defender but also to get to an open running lane. Whether it’s moving laterally and then putting down a foot to explode up field or even making a subtle change of direction, Etienne is able to show the elusiveness that allows him to create for himself and not be so reliant on his offensive line to create production.