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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Audric Estime

Audric Estime reported that he is not playing in the Sun Bowl and is declaring for the NFL Draft. Since then, the bruising back from Notre Dame has risen up draft boards. He started making a name for himself last year when Kyren Williams departed after the 2021 season. He was the lead back for his sophomore campaign but still had to share touches with teammate Chris Tyree. Estime finished his 2022 season with 156 rushes for 920 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also added nine catches for 135 yards and a touchdown. This caught the eye of NFL Scouts and they wanted to see what he could bring to the table after a year of experience under his belt.

Well, the extra year of experience helped out quite a bit, as Estime had an impressive junior year. The 20-year-old finished the season with 210 carries for 1,341 yards and 18 touchdowns. Through the air, he had 17 catches for 142 yards as well. His 1,341 rushing yards ranked ninth in Division I, and his 18 touchdowns ranked third. Estime is an absolute physical presence. He stands at 5'11, 230 lbs. He looks for contact instead of avoiding it and runs through anything in his way. This is a trait scouts love to see, as it's important to have a bruiser that can get you those extra yards and excel in goal-line situations.

There is no real standout running back in the upcoming 2024 draft. There have been years where everyone knew who the first running back would be taken. For example, Bijan Robinson last year. The running back position is becoming the easiest position to replace nowadays, which gives Audric an advantage. There are plenty of shifty backs, but there aren't as many physical backs with the size and speed that Estime possesses. He can handle a full workload and has the tools to become a workhorse back, or simply a complementary power back. Think of it like a Derrick Henry/Tyjae Spears situation (Estime representing Henry). If he makes a statement at the combine, anything is possible for the Notre Dame standout. In my opinion, Audric Estime is the most overlooked running back in this class.

Player Bio

Name: Audric Estime

Jersey: No. 7

Position: Running back

School: Notre Dame

Class: Junior

Height: 5'11

Weight: 230 lbs.

Games Watched:

Syracuse (2022), Clemson (2022), NC State (2023), Duke (2023), Clemson (2023), Stanford (2023)

Player Breakdown

Vision (12/15)

Estime is quite the patient runner, allowing himself to hit the open holes and make something out of nothing. The problem is that he is sometimes too patient. Waiting for the hole to open is great, but when it takes long, the defense has more time to bring him down before he breaks into open field. Estime also looks for contact. This results in him potentially missing a gap simply so he can stiff-arm someone. He did end up with over 1300 rushing yards, so it worked in his favor, but he could have had even more if some plays he didn't always look for contact. His patience makes him successful, and if he fixes his habit of always looking to truck a defender, he'll become an even better back.

Contact Balance (14/15)

Estime's size and frame make him an elite contact runner. This is the focal point of his game. He can initiate contact and still stand upright after trucking someone to the ground. He also gains extra yards all the time because of this. It takes usually more than one person to bring him down, and he will make you pay if he's 1-on-1. This separates the Notre Dame stud from most other running backs in his draft class.

Explosiveness (7/10)

Because Estime is such a big back, his speed and acceleration lack a little. Not as much as most would think though. For being 5'11 and 230 lbs., he is still rumored to run a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. I guess that will be proven at the combine, but if that is true, it is very impressive. There are many backs in the league, or in the upcoming draft, who could run in the 4.3-second range, though. It doesn't sound like much of a difference but come game day, you can tell the difference. Raheem Mostert cutting Estime cutting would be quite the difference. He may not display his explosiveness a lot, but it is there. He has made plays where he burns defenders on the edge and hits them with a juke to become free.

Long Speed (6/10)

Although Audric isn't known for his homerun plays, it is not out of his arsenal by any means. He exploded for an 80-yard touchdown against NC State this year. On this play, he wasn't looking for his usual contact. Instead, he took it outside, outrunning multiple defenders. When he saw the corner on the outside, he cut it back to the middle and ran straight into the endzone. He breaks a lot of long runs but ends up getting caught on most of them. Therefore, this is one of his weaker areas.

Short-Area Burst (8/10)

This goes hand in hand with explosiveness. Once he finds that first hole, he attacks it very powerful. His first cut is his most effective maneuver. But once he gets beyond the first line of defense, that's when he gets caught. He doesn't get the edge as fast as other running backs, but he always seemingly finds a way to make it work. He reminds me a lot of Rhamondre Stevenson. Both don't have homerun speed but have enough burst in the first couple of steps to always gain positive yards.

Change of Direction (6/10)

Estime's hips are stiff, making his ability to reaccelerate difficult. He runs vertically and always tries to run up the middle. Making the defenders miss with a flashy juke/hesitation is not his game. His first step is good though. Estime can make a man miss when he first gets the ball. But once again, as soon as he hits the open field, he tends to just run straight and get the simple yards instead of trying to turn plays into touchdowns. It's an effective running style, just not an exciting one that involves a lot of movement and shiftiness.

Power (10/10)

The Notre Dame product got such a high contact balance rating, and that is all because of his power. He is an absolute bowling ball of a back that you do not want to meet head-on. He will either stiff-arm you into the ground and put you on a highlight reel or attempt to run through you. Sending one defender at him isn't enough. His legs do not stop churning, so he has the strength to shake off most solo tackles. Not only does this come into play as a runner, but it is very effective when pass blocking. As a running back, there are times when he has to block defensive ends or linebackers. He has no problem standing up to them, as he is just as physical as them.

Ball Security (9/10)

In Estime's sophomore year, he had three fumbles in 13 games. These three fumbles occurred during a 4-game stretch. During that stretch, people became concerned that he had a fumbling issue. But after those four games, he finished the year without a fumble. This year, he only had one fumble the entire season (12 games). He had a rough stretch for a month but put it behind him and got back to work like nothing happened. Estime totaled 210 rushing attempts and 17 receptions. Fumbling once during all those touches shows he improved his ability to handle the ball and looks to carry that trend into the NFL.

Receiving Ability (7/10)

In his 25 total games, Estime only has 26 catches for 277 receiving yards and one touchdown. I know he wasn't given many opportunities to catch the ball, but he made the most of what he could. He averaged a little over 10 yards per catch. That is tremendous, and an NFL team should utilize him more in that aspect of the game. Since he is such a good pass blocker, he will typically be on the field a lot especially when teams are looking to bring pressure. This can allow him to make a quick block on his man, and then leak out for a pass. It's an underrated part of his game that teams can sneakily implement into their offense.

Pass Blocking (4.5/5)

Audric Estime is a physical pass blocker who lowers his shoulder into contact. He is not afraid to go 1-on-1 with any defender. Being 230 lbs. helps, as well as his hard-nosed play style. As mentioned, he has three-down potential because teams can disguise him as blocking someone, then he can leak out and catch a dump-off pass.

Player Summary

The monstrous running back from Notre Dame will be a great help to a team looking for a north-south runner. He doesn't try to make crazy plays with his juking ability, he just puts his head down and tries to pick up as many yards as he can. That style of play will wear down defenses late in games where no one wants to tackle him. He doesn't have much experience in the receiving game but made the most of his opportunities when he caught the ball.

Estime is not the fastest player on the field, but he sure will make you pay in 1-on1 situations. Good luck to opponents who try to bring him down themselves. He has the potential to be a workhorse, three down back. But to start his career, I think he would best fit in a backfield where he complements a true pass-catching back. The Cowboys should do their research on this guy, as they do not have a good goal-line back or a big back to get them those extra yards when needed.

Rookie Projection: Backup Option with Starting Potential

Third-Year Projection: Pro Bowl Caliber Back

Final Grade (83.5/100): Mid-2nd Round Talent

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