Travis Etienne – RB, Clemson
Many are expecting Alabama workhorse running back (as is tradition) Najee Harris to be the first running back off of the board, and perhaps the only running back taken in the first round. The thing with running backs are, they’re a dime a dozen. With such short NFL life spans, the league becoming increasingly pass-happy, and with the punishment their bodies take, it isn’t the wisest to use a high pick on one.
In the case of the Buccaneers, they have a crowded running back room. Leonard Fournette was re-signed, Giovanni Bernard was brought in, and Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughn will also be back. With the exception of Vaughn, they are all set to be free agents next season.
Clemson running back Travis Etienne hasn’t been getting as much press around draft time, which is a shame since he is a talented player that can do it all. Well, perhaps not a shame for the Bucs. With the current makeup of their roster, they can literally take whoever they want and nobody would bat an eye.
Etienne would give Tom Brady and company another toy to play with, and with the crowded backfield, he wouldn’t have to play as many snaps, thus being able to save his body. Having Etienne after 2021 wouldn’t put as much pressure on the team to re-sign all of these running backs, as they would have a fresh pair of legs to carry the backfield load going forward in Etienne.
Drafting Etienne would certainly be unexpected, but one that is both possible, and sensible all things considered.