New Broncos RB Audric Estimé aims to make fans forget his 40-time

Notre Dame running back Audric Estimé had a performance to forget at the NFL combine in March.

Estimé ran a 40-yard dash in 4.71 seconds, the slowest 40-time recorded among running backs in Indianapolis. That didn’t stop the Denver Broncos from picking Estimé in the fifth round of the 2024 NFL draft last week.

“You have ups and downs in life,” Estimé said during a call with reporters last Saturday. “I just saw it as a representation of life. I knew there were going to be ups and downs in the process. I just need to stay right in the middle and not let one thing affect my whole process.

“I did not run the time I expected to run. I had been running a lot faster through my time leading up to the 40-yard dash, but that is over now. It is time for me to play football, and I am ready to be a Bronco and play high-level football.”

Nobody will care about Estimé’s combine performance if he makes plays on Sundays. He’s more of a bruiser than a speedster, and there are roles for that type of running back in the NFL. Broncos coach Sean Payton described Estimé as a “physical runner.”

“[H]e’s strong,” Payton said. “I think he has really good vision, contact balance. He was one of the higher-graded backs after contact. He’s a physical player. … So, [he is a] first- and second-down [back], physical, real smart, tough, real good teammate. They love him at the school, and he kind of grew on us as the process went.”

Payton has had success with a variety of running backs in his career ranging from Reggie Bush and Alvin Kamara to Mark Ingram and Latavius Murray.

“I am just looking forward to being able to learn from him,” Estimé said of playing for Payton. “My goal coming into the NFL is to learn, excel and become my full version of myself. I believe he has the attributes to help me achieve that.”

Estimé rushed 210 times for 1,341 yards and 18 touchdowns last fall. He now joins a Denver backfield that already includes Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine and Jaleel McLaughlin.

A few weeks after the combine, Estimé ran a 40-yard dash in the 4.56-4.59 range at Notre Dame’s pro day, a notable improvement from the combine. He’ll now join an offense that also added quarterback Bo Nix and wide receiver Troy Franklin during the draft last week.

“They are really good players,” Estimé said of Nix and Franklin. “I saw them play in college. I am just excited to come in and work with them. Hopefully, we can be together for a couple years and take the championship together.”

Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire