Audric Estime - RB - Notre Dame

Audric Estime had a slow start to his collegiate career as he wasn’t involved much as a true freshman. But he carved out a role for himself as a sophomore and took a stranglehold on the backfield by his junior season. He consistently improved each year to the point where he is a legitimate option for teams in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Measurables

Height: 5′ 11″

Weight: 221 lbs

Age: 21

40-yard dash: 4.71s

3-cone drill: DNP

20-yard shuttle: DNP

Vertical Jump: 38″

Broad Jump: 10’5″

Bench Press: 23

*age is at the start of player’s rookie year

College Stats

Rushing & Receiving Table
RushingReceivingScrimmage
YearSchoolConfClassPosGAttYdsAvgTDRecYdsAvgTDPlaysYdsAvgTD
*2021Notre DameIndFRRB127608.600007608.60
*2022Notre DameIndSO131569205.911913515.0116510556.412
*2023Notre DameIndJRRB1221013416.418171428.4022714836.518
CareerNotre Dame37323216.2292627710.7139925986.530
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 2/1/2024.

Notable Headlines

Estime started as a lower four-star recruit according to 247Sports. And as a true freshman, he wasn’t overly involved with only 7 total touches. It seemed he might fade into the background as many of those lower four-star recruits do, but the departure of Kyren Williams left a wide-open opportunity for Estime. In 2022, Estime was part of a running back committee with Logan Diggs and Chris Tyree. The three split overall touches fairly evenly with Tyree as the pass-catching specialist, but Estime leading the way in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Audric Estime established himself as a very good college running back as a sophomore.

As the 2023 season approached, Logan Diggs transferred to LSU and Chris Tyree fully transitioned to a wide receiver role. That left Estime to dominate the running back backfield with over 200 carries and reaching his first 1,000-yard rushing season. He even was more involved in the receiving game. He took the step from “good college running back” to “NFL Draft prospect” during the 2023 season and declared for the NFL Draft as a true junior.

Scouting Report

Positives

First and foremost, Estime is an incredibly physical runner with a violent running style. He isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder,  consistently keeping his legs churning, and always falling forward to pick up those tough yards. This fosters an excellent goal-line back that thrives in short-yardage situations. Additionally, he showed solid contact balance to pair with that power.

But he also proved to be much shiftier than one would assume due to his size and running style. He has a knack for making effective jump cuts behind the line of scrimmage or within the teeth of the defense to navigate tight windows. He has good vision and patience to make good decisions when following his blockers. And he provided reliable hands out of the backfield despite the lack of volume in that area.

Negatives

While mentioned that he had reliable hands out of the backfield as a positive, he had a severe lack of volume in the passing game with only 26 career receptions. Additionally, he lacked pass protection snaps which caught up to him as he could easily get out of position and let defenders by with ease. But the times he did get into position and met a blitzer head-on, he did show that physicality that makes him a powerful runner. All of that together makes him a less-than-likely candidate for third downs at the next level.

Estime’s burst is very average for a collegiate-level running back. And while he has great physicality and power as a runner, that power is a lot better than his contact balance. He can gruel out some tough yards and keep his legs moving. But he’s not one to bounce off a tackle and eat up yards after contact consistently. He still will pick up some plus yardage through his contact balance, but it’s not the same level as his play strength. Finally, he doesn’t quite have that next gear in the open field to be a consistent home run threat.

Pre Draft Analysis

Expected Draft Capital- Round 4/5

Landing Spots

There are quite a few teams out there that need a mid-round running back to provide depth with the potential to develop into a bigger role. The Los Angeles Chargers stand out as a team that needs just bodies in their backfield as Isaiah Spiller and newcomer Gus Edwards are the only running backs on contract next season. The Cleveland Browns are another team in a position to make additions in their backfield. Kareem Hunt is expendable as we saw last offseason, who knows what level of Nick Chubb we get back after a significant injury last year, and while Jerome Ford showed flashes he didn’t quite provide consistent production.

Post Draft Analysis

Denver Broncos – Round 5, Pick 12

Landing Spot

The Denver Broncos don’t necessarily have a hole at running back, but they don’t have anyone that pops either. Javonte Williams was still getting back up to 100% post-injury last season. And other than that they have Samaje Perine who is fine as a backup and Jaleel McLaughlin, a UDFA who showed some flashes last season. The Estime draft pick is a depth pick that likely provides some insurance if Javonte doesn’t ever truly bounce back from his injury in 2022. And if that’s the case, the Broncos likely have a running back by committee with the four listed running backs. 

Fantasy Impact

Audric Estime fell to round 5 in the NFL Draft and landed in a spot where he could legitimately carve out a role in the offense. We still haven’t seen Javonte back to his rookie year form that he displayed pre-injury and Samaje Perine is just a guy. McLaughlin showed flashes but it’s hard to imagine a full workload going his way. But even if there is just one injury in front of Estime, likely, he’ll still at best be in a running back committee. His short-yardage ability will be coveted by the team and there will likely be packages for him, but it’s hard to envision a significant fantasy impact for fantasy managers in Redraft or Dynasty.

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