The New York Giants have a number of decisions to make over the course of the 2024 offseason. And for the second year in a row, one of the bigger decisions will involve Saquon Barkley. Barkley is an undoubtedly talented athlete, but the Giants need to decide whether the resources they would have to invest in keeping him on the roster would be better spent elsewhere.
If they find themselves in need of another running back, they could look to Audric Estime of Notre Dame in the 2024 NFL Draft. Estime has good size for the position and was one of the most productive runners in college football a year ago. He was third in rushing touchdowns with 18 (in 12 games, 210 carries), and his 6.39 yards per carry ranked 11th among all ball carriers.
It’s also worth noting that Estime is one of the youngest players in the draft and won’t be 21 until September 6th of 2024. Teams will have to decide for themselves whether that’s a strength or weakness.
Prospect: Audric Estime (7)
Games Watched: vs. North Carolina State (2023), vs. Ohio State (2023), vs. Duke (2023), vs. USC (2023)
Weight: 215 pounds
- Contact balance
- Competitive toughness
- Cutback ability
Estime is a tough, competitive throwback running back who can be an absolute headache for opposing defenses.
Estime emerged as the primary back in Notre Dame’s rotation in 2023 thanks to his ability to grind out tough yards and keep the offense on schedule. He isn’t a particularly dynamic running back and is probably best described as a “good but not great” athlete. Estime has a solid burst and short-area quickness, as well as enough speed to maintain separation from most defenders. And while he averaged 6.4 yards per carry and scored 18 touchdowns, he isn’t what anyone would call explosive, agile, or a burner in the open field.
Rather than overwhelming athleticism, Estime made his hay with patience, vision, and a bloodyminded demeanor as a runner.
Estime ran from both behind and beside the quarterback in Notre Dame’s offense. He also ran behind a variety of blocking schemes. He runs with great tempo behind the line of scrimmage, usually following the adage “slow to, fast through” the hole. Estime does a great job of pressing his runs into the back of his blockers, setting up defenders before attacking his intended running lane. He has a good burst through the line of scrimmage, securing the ball well running with impressive leg drive.
He also shows great patience and vision when forced to find a cutback lane. Estime gives holes time to develop and has the ability to anticipate defenders at the second level. And while he isn’t a jitterbug in the backfield, he has enough short-area quickness to attack quickly closing lanes.
Estime has fantastic contact balance through the hole and at the second level. His lower body strength makes him very difficult for lone defenders to bring down. Likewise, he has the ability to run through arm tackles and bounce off shoulder checks. He does a great job of keeping his footing through traffic and consistently churns for extra yards after contact.
- Long speed
Estime won’t run away from many defenders at the NFL level and he doesn’t really have the ability to make defenders miss in a phone booth. He doesn’t have the ability to string moves together, or explode in a radically new direction.
Estime is a strong runner who doesn’t go down easily and can run through shoddy tackling, however he isn’t a “power back”. He lacks the mass to run over linebackers or bigger DBs, and can be ineffective in short yardage situations if he doesn’t commit fully to the run and explode off the snap.
Estime’s patience in cutback situations can also work against him at times. He can occasionally be “picky” about finding cutback lanes, which can make him appear timid. He isn’t a timid runner by any means, but he can appear that way if he waits too long for cutback lanes to emerge, or tries to find better options than the ones immediately available.
Teams will also want to pay attention to his work throughout the draft process as a receiver. He wasn’t asked to catch the ball that often in college, and while he flashes soft hands, his ability to be anything more than a checkdown option is largely unknown.
Likewise, he could use more development as a pass protector. He’s willing and able to hold up well enough, but can occasionally be jarred off his block by strong (or explosive) defenders, or be slow to step up and meet them.
(Estime is Notre Dame RB number 7)
Estime projects as an important back in an active rotation, particularly between the 20’s to
Estime should fit in any blocking scheme thanks to his burst, vision, and ability to find cutback lanes., and his “wide track” running style is somewhat reminiscent of Marshawn Lynch.
He’s something of a throwback at running back, and as such, might not appeal to every team. He might not be much of a factor in the passing game, and isn’t dynamic enough to be a big-play threat whenever he touches the ball. But he could be a great counterpunch for a team with a receiving back – or a team that wants to play some smash-mouth football.
Does he fit the Giants?
Estime could fit if the Giants want to balance the vertical elements of their offense with inside zone power runs.
Final Word: A late Day 2 or early Day 3 value