Draft analyst: Travis Etienne is a 'surefire first-round pick'


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Etienne's speed and explosiveness sets him apart.
Etienne's speed and explosiveness sets him apart.

One running back has been selected in the NFL draft first round each of the last two years.

Pro Football Focus believes Travis Etienne will earn that distinction in 2021.

PFF had the back-to-back ACC Player of the Year as the top running back for the 2020 class before he opted to return and listed him as the top draft prospect overall to go back to school.

"His combination of size and explosiveness at 5-11 (and) 215 (pounds) now," PFF lead draft analyst Mike Renner said. "We saw the video of him running stride for stride with Isaiah Simmons. That's 4.39 (40). So that's a fast dude. Just ability to break tackles. Ninety-one broken tackles on 207 attempts this past season. Highest rate we've ever seen. This is a first-round player.

"That is the combination that wins at running back. He is in my opinion a surefire first-round pick."

Etienne is Clemson's all-time leading rusher with 4,038 yards and 56 touchdowns, adding six more scores receiving with 54 catches for 567 yards.

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