Giants could target an underrated running back in the 3rd round

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As the New York Giants approach the March 5 deadline for franchise tag decisions, expectations are mounting that they will allow star running back Saquon Barkley to explore the free-agent market. General Manager Joe Schoen faces the possibility of matching offers for Barkley but seems poised to consider more cost-effective alternatives in the 2024 NFL Draft to address the running back position for the long term.

Exploring Draft Prospects

With no clear first-round running back prospects this year, the Giants could find substantial value in mid-round selections, where the potential for high-impact players at a lower cost is significant.

Notre Dame running back Audric Estime stands out as a promising candidate. At 6’1″ and 215 pounds, Estime is a powerful force on the field, amassing 1,341 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns, and 142 receiving yards last season. His performance includes notable highlights, such as a remarkable 238-yard, four-touchdown game against Stanford, showcasing his ability as a dynamic and powerful rusher.

Estime’s combination of strength, contact balance, and effective pass protection positions him as a compelling option for the Giants. Despite concerns about his top-end speed and receiving skills, Estime’s foundational attributes suggest he could thrive in the NFL.

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Fitting into the Giants’ Offensive Scheme

The Giants are in search of a running back capable of challenging defenses physically, and Estime’s profile fits this need perfectly. His difficulty to tackle, ability to gain extra yards after contact, and production of first downs (69 in 2023) reflect his potential to be a valuable asset in the Giants’ offense.

Estime’s familiarity with both zone and gap-blocking schemes further indicates a seamless transition to the Giants’ offensive line strategies under Carmen Bricillo’s leadership.

Projected to be available in the third round, Estime represents an attractive option for the Giants, who are looking to infuse their backfield with a mix of power and underrated mobility. His prowess as a pass protector, an area where the Giants have faced challenges, adds another layer of appeal to his draft profile.

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