Over the past few months Travis Etienne’s name has been linked to the Buffalo Bills on multiple occasions.
With the draft now just a couple of days away, it appears that this is more than the typical hyperbole that comes out each and every season in the lead up to the draft.
Todd McShay, one of ESPN’s NFL Draft guru’s, was recently a guest on Ryen Russillo’s podcast, reporting the Bills are in fact attempting to move up several spots in an effort to ensure they can get the former Clemson star.
“Travis Etienne is the hottest running back in this class right now in terms of where his draft stock is going to be,” McShay said. “I’m told that Buffalo at 30 is talking to teams ahead of the Jets at 23 and Jacksonville at 25 and going ahead of Pittsburgh as well trying to get in position to get Etienne. They think that he’s the best back. They want to pair him up obviously with Josh Allen and create that backfield.”
McShay isn’t the only NFL Draft analyst linking Etienne to the Bills. NBC’s Peter King recently had Etienne going to the Bills at No. 30 in his latest mock draft. King has Pittsburgh, who is also looking to beef up their running game, going with Alabama’s Najee Harris at No. 24.
“Now that the Bills have one of the most dangerous receiver corps in the league, time to inject some life into the run game. Etienne would be a great puzzle piece in an offense that craves speed in the backfield. Etienne doesn’t have the speed of some of the fleet backs or wideouts who run Jet sweeps (he’s a 4.44 guy), but the book on him is he cuts and fakes at top speed, which can make up for the fact that he has good but not transcendent speed. Plus, Etienne is very good in the screen game. He had 22 plays of 40 yards or more at Clemson, with a ridiculous 78 touchdowns in four seasons.”
“I’m not a huge fan of rushers in the first round, but the Bills are in top-off mode: What player can they use to make a very good roster a tick better? And Etienne, combined with the great weapons already on the offense, would be a pretty great add to an offense that averaged 31.3 points a game last year. He’d be an extra headache for defensive coordinators to solve.”Peter King
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated is also reporting the Bills have a lot of interest in pairing Etienne with quarterback Josh Allen in the Buffalo backfield.
“What you need to know: A second-tier corner probably would make the most sense, but Clemson’s Travis Etienne was a name raised to me for Buffalo. And the comp I’ve gotten most for him is Alvin Kamara—a player you have to have a plan for, but one who can be incredibly difficult for defenses to handle. Adding Etienne to that skill group, as an underneath weapon with the Bills’ ability to go downfield, would be pretty tantalizing.”
Whether Etienne actually ends up a Buffalo Bill is yet to be determined. However, where there is smoke there tends to be fire, and in this particular case, there appears to be a lot of smoke.