Robinson faces added competition in the Jacksonville backfield with the Jaguars' selection of Travis Etienne in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Mia O'Brien of First Coast News reports. "We want to be Top-8 in the league, and with James Robinson, Hyde and Etienne, we think we're there," said coach Urban Meyer on Thursday.
Per O'Brien, Meyer views Robinson and Carlos Hyde as the "1-2 punch" in the Jacksonville backfield with Etienne settling in as the third-down back. Meyer's comments aside, a team that takes a running back in the first round is going to find a significant role for that player. Robinson's passing down work is already in jeopardy with Etienne in the fold, and his carries are at major risk as well. It's no secret that Robinson had a great rookie season, averaging 4.5 yards per carry in an anemic offense, but Etienne is a rare talent at the position and his draft capital dictates that he will get the chance to take over the starting role in the not-too-distant future. Even if Robinson stays atop the depth chart to open the season, there's a strong likelihood that Etienne moves from "third-down back" to the top option in the backfield before long.