2021 NFL Draft Travis Etienne Profile

by Jon Witt
2021 NFL Draft Travis Etienne Profile

Welcome to the 2021 NFL Draft Profile for Travis Etienne I'm excited as we get to take a look at a key prospect on the offensive side of the ball. This is one of many articles that will break down the college career of the draft class as well as project how they will fit in the NFL.

Etienne was one of the most explosive players in all of college football over his four-year career at Clemson.

It was a bit of a shock that he returned for his senior season last year, but Etienne went on to set multiple NCAA & ACC records all the while increasing his draft stock.

2021 NFL Draft Travis Etienne Profile

Check out the rest of our 2021 NFL Draft coverage including mock draft, rankings, and player profiles.

Collegiate Career


Despite being a four-star recruit, Etienne was not heavily recruited of A Highschool. He was the No. 15 rated running back in the 2017 class according to 247 Sports and decided to choose Clemson over LSU in the end. 

The list of accolades that Etienne has accomplished in his four years at Clemson is impressive and a massively long list. Below are just some of the standouts.

  • 2x First-Team Consensus All-American (2018, 2020)
  • 2x ACC Player of the Year (2018, 2019)
  • NCAA All-Time Leader in Total Games with a Rushing or Receiving TD (46)
  • Ranks 15th All-Time in the NCAA in yards from scrimmage (6,107)


From the second he arrived on campus to the time he graduated, Etienne was a contributor for the Tigers.

In his freshman year, he had to share the backfield with Tavien Fenster (who would eventually transfer). Etienne quickly proved he was the better back scoring 13 times while collecting 1,212 all-purpose yards.

The sophomore and junior years for Etienne would be the two standout seasons for Etienne as he was the ACC player of the year in both. During those seasons he rushed for over 1,600 yards each season (1,658 & 1,614 respectively) with 43 touchdowns.

In comparison to the previous two years, Etienne had a bit of a down senior season. That being said, he still managed to be named an All-American, score 16 touchdowns and collect 1,502 total yards from scrimmage.

What is most impressive is that every season Etienne became more involved in the passing game, making him a more well-rounded back. He went from catching 12 passes his sophomore season to catching 37 his junior year, then 48 his senior, amassing over 1,000 yards receiving those two years.

Tale of the Tape

The more I watch the tape of Etienne, the more I feel his game will translate to the NFL. He really does not have a particular running style. Also, Etienne is just as effective running north to south as he is east to west.

He has bulked up to 215 since the end of his senior season but still managed to run a 4.4 40 at his pro day.

Etienne is a shifty back with great acceleration and an explosive second gear. His 55 runs of 20 or more yards in a career, ranks the most in the NCAA since 2014.

The legs are always churning with him, making him very hard to take down upon first contact. His physical nature allowed him to gain over 3,000 yards after contact. Think about that, 3,000 yards after contact. That is pretty impressive.

Etienne also can carry his own in the passing game. He led the NCAA with 439 yards off of screens in 2020. He also managed to have 27 of his 48 receptions in 2020 go for a first down.

Draft Projections

Projecting running backs is always a tricky thing. There always seems to be a first-round running back taken, but it usually only ends up being one.

Etienne has the talent and resume to be drafted in the first round. However, the reality of it is he will most likely go in the second round.

I think he still gets drafted behind only Najee Harris. I also think he ends up going in the early to mid-second to an offensive-minded team looking for an explosive piece to add to its arsenal.


The takes on Etienne vary from stud fantasy running back to compliment back.

In the modern-day NFL that emphasizes offense, Etienne seems to fit the mold of a dual-threat explosive running back. He can stay on the field and be a three-down back helping in both the passing and rushing game which goes a long way in the fantasy football realm.

Without even knowing where he goes, I think he is the RB2 behind only Najee Harris, ranking him fourth overall in non-superflex rookie drafts.

Be sure to check out the Fantasy Six Pack 2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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