One of the goals the Jacksonville Jaguars had going into the draft was adding more speed on the offensive side of the ball.
With the selection of former Clemson running back Travis Etienne at No. 25 of round number one that is exactly what new head coach Urban Meyer got. The versatility that Etienne can bring to the Jaguars offense is something that Meyer has always coveted in his running backs.
“This is a multi-dimensional back that we’ve kind of, from day one, I know Coach [Darrell] Bevell and [Coach] Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer] and I all feel that the idea of offense is to create match-up nightmares,” Meyer said shortly following the selection. “And I’ve had some good fortune over the years to have a guy that can do both, flex out. He’s as good outside as a receiver as he is as a running back. So, high-end character guy that has elite speed, that….really, really excited.”
In most every press conference since being named the new head coach, Meyer has talked about the need for more speed on offense. Etienne doesn’t just give the Jaguars speed out of the backfield, his versatility allows him to line up outside and potentially create matchup problems for opposing defenses. Meyer had a lot of success with versatile back Percy Harvin during his days in Gainesville.
“The way we’ve always looked at offensive football is that, just over the years, any time you can find that dual-threat guy that can carry the ball and catch the ball, obviously the name that comes up is Percy (Harvin) so often,” Meyer said. I’m not saying he’s a Percy, we’ll find out. But he’s a guy that’s a piece of the puzzle that is kind of hard to cover, hard to defend.”
When the Steelers passed on Etienne in favor of Alabama’s Najee Harris, Jacksonville GM Trent Baalke knew they had their guy.
“Travis is someone we had penciled in at 25 and we’re hoping he would get to us. We had several others as well, but you always have a plan A, plan B, plan C, 1,2,3, however you want to rate it. We feel very good about how we ended up today.”