Cowboys Could Add ‘Physical’ RB Compared to Adrian Peterson

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Cowboys and Mike McCarthy could target Notre Dame's Audric Estime in the NFL draft.

It’s no secret that one of the Dallas Cowboys‘ positions of need are at running back. They could target a “physical” back in the mold of Adrian Peterson to fill that void.

As the Cowboys enter the offseason, starting running back Tony Pollard will be a free agent. It’s unclear if Pollard will be back after a mediocre season as the starting back. Even if Pollard does return, the Cowboys will likely look for complementary help for Pollard, whether that’s through the draft or free agency.

Tim Hamm of Sports Illustrated’s Fan Nation mentions Notre Dame RB Audric Estime as an option.

“Notre Dame’s Audric Estime is projected to be a fourth-round pick by most draft experts, and the Cowboys might be interested in the low-risk, high-reward selection,” writes Hamm.

Audric Estime Models His Game After Adrian Peterson

Heavy Sports caught up with Estime at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and was asked which running back he compares himself to and it’s none other than former MVP Adrian Peterson. Peterson was known for his physical, bruising style as a 6-foot-1, 217-pound back who carved out a 15-year career while finishing with nearly 15,000 rushing yards — the fifth-most in NFL history.

“I’d say Adrian Peterson,” Estime told Heavy Sports on Friday, March 1. “The reason is because he’s a bigger guy, a physical guy and he runs like he has bills to pay, and that’s how I run. He’s also a guy who moves like a smaller back. He’s very light on his feet. He’s quick and fast. He can run routes. He can pass protect. He can do it all. That’s why I model my game after him.”

Audric Estime Met With Cowboys at NFL Combine

Estime also confirmed that he met with the Cowboys at the NFL Combine.

“I just like the energy the Cowboys had,” Estime said. “They are very energetic guys and had smiles on their faces. I’m a guy that is always smiling and they were smiling right back at me. They are a very football-savvy team that knows a lot about football. I’m a guy who always wants to be informed. I feel like in that system I’ll be able to learn every day and maximize my ability.”

The 5-foot-11, 227-pound back will immediately become one of the bigger backs in the NFL. Estime is projected to be a second-round pick and is considered one of the top five running back prospects in this year’s draft. In fact, Bleacher Report’s Derrik Klassen considers him the top running back prospect in the draft, mentioning that he does have “home run speed” despite being a bigger back.

“The scariest part of Estimé’s game is his long speed,” writes Klassen. “Though he can take a few steps to really get rolling, Estimé has serious home run speed. If he gets the angle on someone at the second or third level, he can absolutely take one all the way. That’s rare for a player his size.”

Kyle Crabbs of Athlon Sports detailed in his scouting report of Estime that his strength lies in being a “physical” runner.

“Estime is a dense, physical runner who knows where his strength lies,” wrote Crabbs in October of 2023. “While he isn’t particularly creative/elusive/agile, he’s nimble enough, and he pairs that with good contact balance to spin, bounce, or parlay off of soft contact challenges. You don’t necessarily get a lot of fluff with his running style, but you do get efficient carries that maximize yardage.”

Estime racked up 1,341 rushing yards on 6.4 yards per carry to go along with 18 touchdowns, ranking sixth in the country in total touchdowns during the 2023 season.

The 20-year-old — he won’t turn 21 years old until September — could be the perfect complement to Pollard the way Ezekiel Elliott — who is similarly framed at 6-foot and 226 pounds — was for many years in Dallas. Elliott splitting carries with Pollard led to the latter rushing for 5.2 yards per carry and notching a Pro Bowl bid during the 2022 season.

The Cowboys could very well snag Estime with their late first-round pick (No. 24) or maybe Estime drops down to No. 56 in the second round.



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