The Buffalo Bills are reportedly actively looking to trade up in the 2021 NFL Draft, potentially leapfrogging the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers to select Clemson running back Travis Etienne.
Joining the Ryen Russillo Podcast, ESPN’s Todd McShay shared the report of Buffalo’s interest in the former Tigers star, describing him as one of the fastest rising prospects in the class.
“Travis Etienne is the hottest running back in this class right now in terms of where his draft stock is going to be,” McShay said. “I’m told that Buffalo at 30 is talking to teams ahead of the Jets at 23 and Jacksonville at 25 and going ahead of Pittsburgh as well trying to get in position to get Etienne. They think that he’s the best back. They want to pair him up obviously with Josh Allen and create that backfield.”
While Alabama’s Najee Harris has been the most popular running back mocked to the Steelers in the first round, Etienne has been as well and would be just as helpful in potentially resurrecting their anemic run game.
Pittsburgh’s rushing attack was the worst in football last season. As one of the most dynamic offensive players in the 2021 class, Etienne would provide an immediate, positive impact.
Still, Buffalo’s thirst for Etienne could actually work in the Steelers’ favor. If they are less interested in him and believe they can address the running back position later, then Pittsburgh could attempt to trade with the Bills directly and move back.
While that would not jump the Bills ahead of the Jets, it would likely ensure them either Etienne or Harris.
For the Steelers, they could accumulate additional picks to address their many needs, waiting to find their next bell cow.
Etienne exits Clemson as a two-time Consensus All-American, two-time ACC Player of the Year and a national champion in 2018.
He rushed for 4,952 career yards and 70 touchdowns while also tallying 102 receptions for 1,155 yards and eight more scores. Etienne is the NCAA’s all-time leader in total games with a touchdown at 46.
The 2021 NFL Draft tips off this Thursday in Cleveland.