Coming out Clemson, Jaguars first-round pick RB Travis Etienne did a lot of great things on the ground. Etienne rushed for 4952 yards and 70 touchdowns during his three years in college. Also, he had 102 receptions for 1152 yards and eight touchdown catches.
On Friday, the Jaguars begin their rookie minicamp in Jacksonville, which allowed Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer to grow Etienne’s game. Etienne has been working out as a wide receive during camp, and according to him, Meyer discussed this with the rookie running back right after the draft.
“Coach informed me that the very next day after I got drafted,” Etienne said on Saturday. “When I came out here, he brought me into a room, asked me how I felt about it, and I feel great about it. I feel like it’s going to help me maximize my opportunity, maximize my skillset, so I feel like Coach knows what he’s doing. He’s doing what’s best for the team, and I feel like it’s going to work out really well.”
Meyer explained why he wanted to try Etienne at wide receiver.
“He’s the leading rusher in ACC history,” Meyer said. “So for him to run inside zone, power, and zone right now, we thought at the worst-case scenario you have a running back with the skillset of a wide receiver and best case scenario you have a hybrid player that can do both, and that’s what we’re hoping to develop with Travis.”
The number one overall pick in this year’s draft, QB Trevor Lawrence, who played with Etienne in college, was excited to see Etienne at wide receiver.
“Yeah, it’s different; it’s awesome,” Lawrence said. “I’m glad he’s getting to work that and getting those reps right now. He’s just a dynamic player, he can do a lot of different things, but that’s something that he’s not very used to. And at Clemson, he was pretty much in the backfield all the time. He ran a lot of routes out of the backfield, but splitting out wide is something he hasn’t done a lot. So, it’s cool seeing him out there, working, learning something new, and just [seeing] the improvements he makes every day is really cool.”
As he continues to get some work at wide receiver, Etienne believes he can become a solid route runner.
“I feel like it’s just my confidence, getting my confidence, building repetition,” he said. “I feel like I’m a great athlete, so I’m able to naturally do things, but it’s getting that repetition, getting that work in with the receiver coach, and really working on my technique. Once I get that down, I feel like I can be as good of a route runner as anyone.
What Meyer is doing with Etienne is different, but maybe it will expand and grow his game. We shall see.
Watch highlights from Jaguars rookie minicamp:
Photo: Jacksonville Jaguars