In a Kansas City Chiefs training camp with Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and two first-round picks (Trent McDuffie and George Karlaftis), the most buzzed-about player isn’t any of them. It is seventh-round running back Isiah Pacheco. Here’s everything you need to know about the breakout rookie sensation heading into the 2022 NFL season.
Who is Chiefs rookie running back Isiah Pacheco?
NFL teams took 21 college running backs in the 2022 NFL draft before the Kansas City Chiefs took Rutgers RB Isiah Pacheco. The former Scarlet Knight went No. 251 overall, just 11 spots before the final pick, Mr. Irrelevant 2022, Brock Purdy.
Pacheco is a New Jersey native who stayed local for college, committing to Rutgers in 2017.
During his four years under head coaches Chris Ash and then Greg Schiano, Pacheco ran the ball 563 times for 2,422 yards and scored 18 rushing touchdowns. He also added 47 catches for 249 yards and one TD. His year-by-year production looked like this:
|YEAR||GAMES||CARRIES||RUSH YARDS||TD||REC||REC YARDS||TD|
After his senior year, Isiah Pacheco went to the NFL combine and performed well. He measured 5-foot-11, 216 pounds, and ran a 4.37 40-yard dash.
Despite the production and the excellent measurables, Pacheco nearly fell out of the draft altogether before the Chiefs scooped him up with the 30th pick of the final round.
The rookie runner is crushing it at Chiefs training camp and in the preseason
Isiah Pacheco came into Chiefs training camp with little to no expectations. In fact, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jerick McKinnon, Ronald Jones, and Derrick Gore ahead of him on the depth chart, the chances of him making the team were slim.
However, Pacheco impressed from the jump with his running, catching, and kick returning. He’s been lights out in practice and has 16 carries for 66 yards and three catches for 21 yards in three preseason games. Those numbers don’t jump off the page, but that is because Andy Reid is using Pacheco in the preseason like a back who is going to play a lot in the regular season.
Isiah Pacheco beat out Gore, who the Chiefs cut after suffering a thumb injury, and now Jones is on the roster chopping block. It looks like Pacheco will also seriously challenge Edwards-Helaire and McKinnon when the regular season arrives.
Isiah Pacheco went from an average producing running back at Rutgers to a heralded prospect who could make some serious noise on one of the most potent offenses in the NFL.
We’ll have to wait until the regular season gets underway to truly see Pacheco’s role in Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes’ offense, but right now, the potential upside of this rookie is huge.
All stats courtesy of Sports Reference