In the midst of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 1-15 campaign in 2020, running back James Robinson turned out to be both one of the team’s lone bright spots and one of the biggest revelations in the entire league. The Illinois State product surged out of nowhere to become just the fourth undrafted rookie running back in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in his first season.
Still, that didn’t stop brand new head coach Urban Meyer from providing him with healthy competition, using the 25th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Clemson legend Travis Etienne. During his time playing for the Tigers, Etienne became the ACC’s all-time leading rusher, racking up 4,952 career rushing yards, 70 career rushing touchdowns, and 1,155 career receiving yards total.
His pass catching ability is what urged Meyer to reunite him with former Clemson teammate Trevor Lawrence, creating an interesting camp battle for Jacksonville’s starting running back job.
Latest camp news
UPDATE: Etienne is expected to miss the season due to his Lisfranc injury, according to Adam Schefter.
Week 2 preseason recap: Etienne suffered a Lisfranc injury, which is officially keeping him out indefinitely. That means Robinson has the lead job for now with Carlos Hyde as the top backup option.
Week 1 preseason recap: Neither rusher made much of an impact in the Jags’ 23-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Saturday. Robinson had just three carries on the day for 13 yards while the rookie Etienne had a single carry for two yards and one target in the passing game.
8/10/21: Both backs have shared equal carries so far in Jaguars camp with Etienne reportedly turning heads with his catching ability while Robinson is impressing with his rushes. Robinson was reportedly hobbled a little bit over the weekend with an undisclosed injury but seems to be fine now.
Next preseason game: at Dallas Cowboys
With Etienne’s injury, Robinson is now the lead running back with Hyde as the backup. The Jaguars are unlikely to use Robinson much here, but Hyde could get significant work.
Fantasy football verdict
Week 2 preseason: Robinson now has a clear path to being the top running back in Jacksonville. Etienne is done for the season due to his Lisfranc injury, meaning the Jaguars will go with Robinson as the lead running back. Hyde will be worth rostering on fantasy benches this season, but won’t have a path to major carries unless Robinson also misses time.