The Jacksonville Jaguars have traded running back James Robinson to the New York Jets for a conditional sixth-round pick, the teams announced today.
With Breece Hall out for the season with a torn ACL, the Jets needed a running back, and with former first-round pick Travis Etienne Jr. getting the bulk of the carries in Jacksonville, Robinson became expendable.
In seven games this season, the 24-year-old Robinson, who returned after tearing his Achilles in 2021, rushed for 340 yards on 81 carries.
As a rookie in 2020, he gained 1,414 scrimmage yards, the most by an undrafted rookie in NFL history. Robinson attended Illinois State and signed with the Jaguars as a rookie free agent in April 2020.
Robinson played in 35 games for the Jaguars from 2020-22 and rushed 485 times for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns.
STATEMENT FROM THE JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS ON ROBINSON:
The Jacksonville Jaguars are grateful to have had James Robinson as a member of this organization and thank him for his many contributions on the field, in the locker room, and in the community during what were three impactful seasons in Jacksonville. We wish James well in New York as he continues his career with the Jets.
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.
The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback and running back combination in 2021 may look very familiar to Clemson Tigers fans. After the Jaguars drafted QB Trevor Lawrence with the number one overall pick on Thursday, the team followed that up by taking Clemson RB Travis Etienne with the 25th overall pick.
The two-time ACC player of the year is happy to be in Jacksonville and did not want to be separated from his college quarterback.
“I knew Trevor was coming here,” Etienne said at his introductory press conference on Friday. “You’d be crazy not to want to play with Trevor Lawrence. I definitely wanted to be with Trevor. I feel as if, like I said earlier, it brings me that sense of normalcy being with him these past three years. I feel like I can’t wait to do great things here.”
According to Etienne, he and Lawrence, who played together for three seasons at Clemson, have developed excellent chemistry.
“We built a lot of chemistry, especially these past two years,” Etienne said. “His freshman year, I wasn’t that much of a receiving threat. His sophomore and junior years, we stayed out after practice and kept working, kept working, kept working. You just see it kind of pays off. You see it on the field now, he’s throwing me darts, things he probably would’ve thrown to me his freshman year, now he has the confidence in me and trust in me, so I’m grateful.”
In four seasons at Clemson, Etienne ran for 4952 yards and 70 rushing touchdowns, and according to Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer, Etienne has big-play potential every time he has the ball.
“I saw the violence that he plays with and the speed — speed wins,” Meyer said, “We were a team that really struggled with big-play hits last year and, especially in the NFL, but the opportunity to sustain 10-, 12-, 13-play drives, the percentages say that doesn’t happen, so we need some hits, and we didn’t have it. Travis has got that gift. He’s got that gift of if that guy touches the ball, there’s a chance it’s going, and that’s the biggest thing I looked at.”
While Jacksonville has James Robinson, who rushed for over one thousand yards last season, Etienne, on the surface, appears to be the guy for this team going forward. Robinson is not Meyer’s guy; Etienne is, so we’ll see how that situation plays out.