The Jacksonville Jaguars made a somewhat mysterious selection by picking Clemson running back Travis Etienne in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
The team already had a strong No. 1 running back in James Robinson and had signed dependable veteran Carlos Hyde in free agency.
On Saturday, first-year Jaguars coach Urban Meyer provided a pretty big clue.
Meyer is using Etienne as a wide receiver at this weekend’s rookie minicamp, forming a pass-catch combo with Etienne’s college quarterback — and the No. 1 overall pick — Trevor Lawrence.
“That’s the reason we drafted him is the opportunity to be a dual-threat guy and our history as long as we’ve had a guy like that and we saw him as a guy like that in the draft this year,” Meyer said on a conference call Saturday. “Right now, we’re focusing on the fundamentals of wide receiver play, learning the offense from wide receiver.
“Like I said, worst-case scenario is you have a running back that’s elite with receiver skills and best-case scenario he’s a legitimate dual-threat guy.
Etienne, the 25th overall pick, is up for the challenge.
“I feel like I create a problem outside for a linebacker, so I feel like football is a game of matchups. We’re just trying to get the best matchups for us to go out there and make plays and do what’s best for the team,” Etienne said to CBS Sports.
“I feel like if I really hone in on my skills and just keep working at it, work on my route running ability and really focus in on what the plan is and buy into that, we’ll make plays, we’re playmakers. I feel like, like I said, football is a game of matchups, and this creates the best matchups for us.”
Etienne, 22, caught 102 passes for 1,155 yards and eight touchdowns in four seasons at Clemson. He also rushed for 4,952 yards and 70 scores.