HEIGHT: 5'10 ⅛"
— Pure home-run speed; can take any run or catch the distance.
— Runs with square shoulders to the line of scrimmage and has above-average contact balance. Able to burst through the hole and run through arm/soft tackles.
— Looks to be comfortable in any type of run scheme. Ideal fit in a zone-heavy run scheme that would allow him to go for explosive plays via the lanes created.
— Willing to be physical on his runs, although he sometimes doesn't have the play strength to bring it.
— Has no issues with running between the tackles, even given his size. Does not look to automatically bounce runs like most speed guys.
— Good hands. Can create big plays off screen passes and checkdowns. Does a good job of drop-stepping and getting north after making the catch.
— Productive four-year player for a top program. Has maintained consistency and health his entire career.
— Long torso and upright running style.
— Will get a bit antsy at times after receiving handoffs on gap (counter) schemes and run up on the back of his offensive line.
— Vision is inconsistent. Sometimes just doesn’t seem to be in the same rhythm as the blocking.
— Willingness to be physical combined with a high running style can leave him vulnerable to hits that will add up in the NFL.
— Pass protection needs a lot of work. Needs to improve on eyes and technique, especially given his size.
— No durability issues in college but has nearly 800 touches on his odometer.
12 G, 168 carries, 914 yards, 5.4 avg., 14 TD, 48 rec., 588 yards, 2 TD
— 2018 first-team All-American
— 2019 first-team All-American
— 2020 first-team All-American
— 2018 ACC Player of the Year
— 2019 ACC Player of the Year
Etienne will be a premier home run hitter in both the running and passing games as soon as he gets to the NFL. He shows good physicality on his runs, and his skill set will allow him to fit into a multitude of run schemes, but ideally, he would be in a zone-heavy scheme that would let him plant his foot and take advantage of blocking lanes. He has a slighter build than many running backs and an upright running style that will leave him vulnerable to big hits.
He will need a lot of work in pass protection, which will limit his play to first and second down, and ideally, he will be paired with another running back who can take some of the load off him. Etienne has above-average vision overall, but his tempo on runs can be out of sync with his blocking in front of him, and he will end up running into the back of his offensive lineman and stop a play dead in its tracks.
Overall, Etienne will be a threat to score every time he touches the ball, but his role will be limited at first until he improves his eyes and technique in protection and learns to consistently pace his runs better. This lack of tempo can lead to too many wasted runs in between the explosive ones. He’ll be best on a team with another running back to ease some of his burden initially.
GRADE: 7.7/10 (Early-Mid Second Round)
OVERALL RANK: 69/300
POSITION RANK: RB4
PRO COMPARISON: Willie Parker
Written by B/R NFL Scout Nate Tice