ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals select RB Travis Etienne is McShay’s NFL mock draft

Jan 7, 2021, 9:18 AM | Updated: 11:14 pm
(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)...
(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

While the Arizona Cardinals could use more depth at outside linebacker and cornerback, ESPN’s Todd McShay has Arizona targeting more offensive firepower in the 2021 NFL Draft.

In McShay’s first mock draft since the end of the regular season, the Cardinals select Clemson Tigers running back Travis Etienne with the No. 16 overall pick.

Etienne is a home run hitter with fantastic contact balance and improving pass-catching ability. The Cardinals’ rushing offense was top 10 in yards per game in 2020, but much of that was from quarterback Kyler Murray, who accounted for more than a third of the team’s gains on the ground. Arizona’s running backs had the 19th-best yards per carry (4.16), and lead back Kenyan Drake played the season on a transition tag — and he isn’t under contract for 2021.

Drake finished the season with a team-high 955 rushing yards but averaged 4.0 yards per carry. That mark is less than both backup running back Chase Edmonds (4.6) and quarterback Kyler Murray (6.2).

Based on Etienne’s resume, the 5-foot-10, 205-pounder would add another element to Arizona’s offense.

In four seasons with the Tigers, Etienne amassed 4,952 yards and 70 touchdowns on 686 carries (7.2 yards per rush). His sophomore year was his best as a Tiger, recording 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns, both career marks.

Etienne would not only provide the Cardinals with an explosive runner, he could add another dimension in the team’s passing game.

As a pass catcher, Etienne posted 102 receptions for 1,155 yards and eight scores in four years at Clemson. He upped his usage as a receiver in 2020, setting career highs in catches (48) and yards (588).

In 2019, Etienne showed off his catching prowess in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. While he only ran the rock 10 times for 36 yards and a touchdown, Etienne gashed Ohio State with three catches for 98 yards and two scores.

Although Edmonds would most likely take his usual reps in the passing game, Etienne could provide another pair of hands for a group that had only one real receiving threat in DeAndre Hopkins. Following the wide receiver’s 1,407-yard season, Christian Kirk finished second on the team with 621 yards.

Arizona Cardinals

Markus Golden #44 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates a sack in the third quarter against the Cleve...
Tyler Drake

Meant-to-be Cardinals LB Markus Golden enjoying productive 2021

There aren't many who proclaim their love for a team quite like Cardinals LB Markus Golden. With how he's playing, the feeling is mutual.
13 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals TE Zach Ertz warms up ahead of practice Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, in Tempe. (Tyle...
Character Counts

Cardinals TE Zach Ertz to give 5,000 meals per TD to Arizona food banks

Cards TE Zach Ertz is giving back to the community, providing 5,000 meals to local AZ food banks for every TD the team score this season.
13 hours ago
Green Bay Packers' defensive coordinator Joe Barry during NFL football training camp at Lambeau Fie...
Arizona Sports

Report: Packers DC Joe Barry out Thursday vs. Cardinals with COVID-19

Green Bay Packers DC Joe Barry will miss the Thursday Night Football game against the Arizona Cardinals, reports NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.
13 hours ago
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals reacts during the final moments of the NFL game...
Kevin Zimmerman

‘Disconnected’ Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury happy to be back from COVID-19 stint

Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury would rather have last week's scenario over this week's.
13 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt and WR DeAndre Hopkins leave the field after taking down the Houston...
Tyler Drake

DeAndre Hopkins, J.J. Watt get the better of Texans in 1-sided win

After helping pick up wins for the Texans across most of their careers, DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt handed Houston a big loss on Sunday.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray leaves the field after an NFL football game against the ...
Dan Bickley

Resilient Cardinals get by Texans, set up Thursday showdown vs. Packers

The hardest games to win look the easiest. The most dangerous opponents are the bad teams still playing hard. The Cardinals escaped both.
2 days ago
Cardinals select RB Travis Etienne is McShay’s NFL mock draft