Cowboys need to avoid this RB prospect at all costs after 2024 NFL Combine

Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Notre Dame running back Audric Estime (RB10) during the 2024 NFL
Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Notre Dame running back Audric Estime (RB10) during the 2024 NFL / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys could end up re-signing Tony Pollard when all is said and done, but they must find Pollard's eventual successor in the 2024 NFL Draft. Depending on whom the Cowboys draft, Pollard could return to his familiar change-of-pace role while said rookie takes the lion's share of carries.

Regardless, the Cowboys got to evaluate myriad prospects at the Combine. While wide receivers Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Worthy stole the show, other potential targets like linebacker Payton Wilson, offensive tackle Amarius Mims and defensive tackle Braden Fiske all came away huge winners from Indianapolis.

For as many prospects that have soaring stock post-Combine, just as many, if not more hurt their draft stock this weekend. Oregon receiver Troy Franklin went viral for all of the wrong reasons, while Notre Dame running back Audric Estime might fall to the end of Day 3 after his sluggish 40-yard dash time.

Estime is a traditional power back and was never expected to challenge Tennessee's Jaylen Wright and Florida State's Trey Benson in the sprint. However, Estime's 4.71 time was the slowest recorded time of any RB at the Combine and the Cowboys would be smart to pivot to other backs in the draft.

Cowboys shouldn't draft Notre Dame RB Audric Estime after NFL Combine

Estime's 40 time doesn't spell doom for his NFL career. He had a 79th percentile broad jump and scored well in both the vertical and 10-yard split. However, his lack of long speed might pigeonhole him to a short-yardage role as a pro. In fact, since 2015 no RB has ran a 40 slower than 4.65 and been drafted.

The Cowboys need a short-yardage specialist in the worst way, and will even more so if they bring Pollard back. A draft crush of numerous Dallas fans pre-Combine, the former Fighting Irish star might no longer be worth the price of admission.

Granted, the Combine isn't the best stage for a power RB to showcase their skillset. Estime's calling cards are breaking tackles and falling for extra yards in short-yardage situations. He averaged over 4.0 yards after contact per carry in college.

In a perfect world, though, the Cowboys won't use a draft pick on a one-dimensional back, regardless if Pollard is re-signed. Estime's tape and foot skills are indicative of a prospect who could be a three-down back in the NFL. That, coupled with his ability to pick up blocks in pass pro has led many draft analysts to project him as a potential third-round pick. That idea could be out the window now.

Estime could overcome the odds and turn into a stud, but the odds of him becoming the Cowboys' long-term RB plummeted in light of his 40-time. The team would be better off targeting someone who can bring a power element to the run game and leave no doubt about being the full-time starter in 2025, if not sooner if Pollard were to struggle again next season.

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