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On a train from Lyon to Strasbourg — turns out they have ok free wifi. (Will try to take and post a photo if there’s something worthwhile.)
I wrote about players with whom I don’t know what to do yesterday, but realized I left a key one out: Etienne.
I had Etienne everywhere last year, and usually when a player I draft doesn’t quite earn the price I paid, I draft him again because “he owes me.” Worst case is seeing someone who let you down crush it for other people the following year.
Etienne wasn’t terrible — 1,125 rushing yards, 318 receiving yards — but he had only five touchdowns and 35 catches despite playing all 17 games and being Trevor Lawrence’s playmaker in college. The problem was the Jaguars often brought in James Hasty on third downs, and even after James Robinson was traded, Etienne eclipsed 20 carries only twice (including the Wild Card game) after Week 9.
Even worse, the last game where he saw more than three targets was Week 7 against the Giants. The team didn’t throw to him much on early downs and replaced him in obvious passing ones. I have to assume it was due to deficiencies in pass protection, the Jaguars’ top priority with an all-world prospect and rising star quarterback.
Keep in mind also Etienne was drafted by the Urban Meyer regime, not the current one that just used a third-round pick (No. 88) on Tank Bigsby, who has reportedly impressed in camp. That’s a fair amount of draft capital for a contending team to use on a running back when Etienne is already in place.
On the plus side, Etienne showcased his big-play ability with 5.1 YPC and 9.0 YPC — and that was only one year removed from his rookie preseason Lisfranc fracture. Might he be stronger and more confident heading into Year 3?
Moreover, running backs coach Bernie Parmalee reported improvements in Etienne’s game this preason and mentioned pass pro specifically. If Etienne is in on third downs, it changes his entire profile as a fantasy player.
Etienne seemed to need some workload management (which is probably why they drafted Bigsby) but at 5-10, 215, Etienne is built more like Bijan Robinson than say Austin Ekeler.
Bottom line, I thought I was out on Etienne because most superstar backs reveal themselves right away, and I sensed the team felt he was soft. But Etienne missed his entire rookie year, so this is really only Year 2 for him, and if he can cede early down work to Bigsby rather than third-down work to Hasty, he could be a Round 2 back with a Round 4 price-tag.
There’s even a world where he’s the 1.1.
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Didn’t get anything from the train, but snapped some photos over our friend’s house as we were leaving this morning. The village where they spend the summer is a paradise.
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Incidentally, I’m taking a break from Twitter while on vacation, but still posting on NOSTR if you’re curious. It’s the future.