Odds are probably incredibly good that the Pittsburgh Steelers will draft a running back early in the 2021 NFL Draft. They might even be the team to select the first overall running back this year, or at the very least, one of the top two running backs. In the mix to be the running back the Steelers choose to draft this year is likely to be Clemson’s Travis Etienne and especially after the team paid quite a bit of attention to him at his pro day last week.
With Etienne getting some of the media spotlight this past week and with him saying at his pro day he thinks he would be a perfect fit for the Steelers, it’s time to take a deeper look at his 2020 explosive plays runs of 10 yards or longer from the 2020 season. They are contextualized for you below along with some observations.
As you can see in the table of data below, Etienne registered 27 total runs in 2020 that resulted in gains of 10 yards or longer, and seven of those resulted in gains of 20 yards or longer, which is not a bad percentage at all.
As part of the contextualization process of these 27 runs by Etienne, I charted where first contact (FC), if any, took place in addition to how many broken tackles (BT) he had on each run. On the 27 runs from 2020 that I charted, Etienne’s first contact happened 7.19 yards past the line of scrimmage, on average. That’s a nice number but still not as big as the number posted last season by Alabama running back Najee Harris and North Carolina running back Javonte Williams on their explosive runs, which I have already contextualized on the site these last few weeks.
As for the broken tackles on these 27 contextualized runs by Etienne in 2020, seven of them in total included him breakings his first tackle 3 or less yards from the line of scrimmage. 12 in total included him breaking his first tackle 5 or less yards from the line of scrimmage.
Etienne, like Williams showed on several of these runs that he can earn yards after first contact and especially before he got out of the box area. He proved he can run inside and outside, and his contact balance, like that of Williams, is also fantastic. Etienne worked in shotgun backfield quite extensive in 2020 as you would expect. Clemson ran all various types of blocking schemes and that includes some power and slit zone. Bringing Etienne down with an arm tackle, especially above the waist, is hard to accomplish. He also showed a nice burst in several of these long runs and an ability to run away from defenders both on the edge and down the field.
The fact that Etienne registered such a high percentage of explosives runs of 20 yards or longer last season and for his entire career was exciting to see and that’s also on par with what Williams did in 2020. He had 55 such runs during his career at Clemson and seven of those from 2020 are contextualized and linked to in this post.
If you get a chance, make sure to watch as many of these 27 runs linked below that you can. Etienne is an impressive running back with big play ability as a runner both inside and outside. He also had to work for quite a few of these 506 total rushing yards that I contextualized below.
— Steelers Depot 🧐 (@Steelersdepot) March 1, 2021