NFL franchises are always looking to get younger at running back, due to the position's short shelf-life, and this year should be no different. The 2021 NFL Draft class will feature a number of talented rushers, including former Clemson Tiger Travis Etienne.
Depending on who you ask, Etienne generally ranks either first or second for the RB position this draft, alongside Alabama back Najee Harris. Etienne's shifty agility and explosiveness could be an asset in both the run and pass game of whichever team selects him, with 4,952 yards on the ground and another 1,155 through the air during his four collegiate seasons.
Here are the three most likely franchises to draft this two-time All-American and ACC Player of the Year, come April.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 32 Overall)
Coming off their Super Bowl victory, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers don't need a lot, assuming they are able to re-sign a majority of their impending free agents. One that they might let walk is running back Leonard Fournette, who was brought in off a Jacksonville Jaguars release near the start of the season. Veteran LeSean McCoy is also a free agent, leaving very little behind Ronald Jones on this roster. It's true that the Bucs did spend a third-round pick on Ke'Shawn Vaughn a year ago, but the rookie didn't have much of an impact in year one. If Tampa decides not to go defense here, they could add another weapon out of the backfield for Tom Brady, who may lose Chris Godwin in free agency.
2. Miami Dolphins (No. 36 Overall)
The Miami Dolphins still have a ton of draft picks to play around with, a byproduct of their massive rebuild from a few years ago. It's hard to see them spending a first-round pick on Etienne after Myles Gaskin's emergence, but they could use an early second on him if he's still available. This is yet another pick that Miami received from the Houston Texans, and this time they may use it to add a running back of the future to pair with Tua Tagovailoa. Remember, Etienne helped Trevor Lawrence as a safety net all throughout college.
1. New York Jets (No. 23 or 34 Overall)
This is the most obvious landing spot for Etienne, simply because the New York Jets need a dynamic franchise running back (something they have not truly had since Thomas Jones and Curtis Martin), and they have the surplus of draft picks to select one in April. The Jets will likely get first crack at a running back at 23rd overall, but they could pass on the position with their later first. If Etienne falls out of the first round completely, like most analysts expect, the Jets will have another shot at number 34, two spots ahead of the Dolphins. By drafting the Clemson playmaker, New York not only fills a major roster need, they keep Etienne from falling into the hands of one of their division rivals.
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Michael Obermuller is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Michael Obermuller also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username king_mizzard. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.