Travis Etienne is slowly but surely coming into his own. His “duck feet” may be to thank.
Etienne, who was drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Clemson, was expected to play an immediate, significant role with Jacksonville last year. Unfortunately, a significant lisfranc injury caused him to miss the entire season.
Now, in his second year, Etienne is starting to establish himself within the league.
The 23-year-old is averaging 6.1 yards per carry on 68 touches as a ball-carrier, and 10.8 yards per catch on 14 receptions out of the backfield. His role will only continue to grow after the Jaguars traded James Robinson to the Jets earlier this week.
There are a lot of reasons for Etienne’s success. He is quick, hits the weight room hard, and moves in ways that other running backs do not.
A large part of his unique running style may stem from something of an unorthodox gait. Etienne’s feet are pointed outward at something of a 45-degree angle.
“That is something I was born with,” Etienne said to Cleveland.com in 2019. “I’ve always walked kind of duck-footed. I just thank God for my tremendous balance that I do have.”
While there is a lot of conversation about his awkward feet making Etienne more prone to injury, they have also helped him get to where he is. He can move in ways that other running backs cannot.
Travis Etienne’s feet make him a better running back.
Over the course of his college career, Etienne often found himself in extremely awkward positions. And yet, rather than getting tripped up and going down, he always found a way to keep upright and continue moving.
That trend has continued into his time in the NFL. Etienne was basically born to burn opposing defenses around the edge. His unique feet allow him to access abnormal angles that most NFL running backs aren’t.
While Etienne’s success stems from more than just duck feet, they play a big role in his elite elusiveness. With his career just getting started, it will be interesting to see how he continues to use his abnormality as an asset over the coming years.