Chiefs Rookie Draft Pick Named ‘Dark Horse’ to Make 53-Man Roster

Getty Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Isiah Pacheco.

With Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Ronald Jones, Derrick Gore, and Jerick McKinnon rounding out the top part of the Kansas City Chiefs running back depth chart, there doesn’t seem to be much room for anyone else to make a name for themself in Kansas City’s backfield. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few players that will try to do just that.

Take rookie seventh-round pick, Isiah Pacheco, for example. As a Rutgers product, Pacheco isn’t entering the league with a strong collegiate resume. During his four years at Rutgers, he never accumulated more than 170 touches in a single season or 729 rushing yards, which were both career-highs during his sophomore season. This is a large part of the reason why he wasn’t drafted until Day 3 despite running a 4.37 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine and having several other traits that are coveted in an NFL running back.

Being drafted into an already-loaded backfield doesn’t help Pacheco’s chances of making an NFL roster, even if there is draft capital tied to him. But one NFL analyst believes he can beat the odds and make Kansas City’s 53-man roster, and explains why.

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Pacheco ‘Dark Horse’ to Make KC’s Active Roster

KC Proctor of Arrowhead Pride explained why he believes Pacheco can beat the odds and make the Chiefs’ active roster come September.

“Pacheco, who will dawn number 10, was never greatly included in the Scarlett Knights’ passing game and there were concerns leading up to the draft about his abilities as a downfield receiver,” Proctor explained on June 20. “Whether or not he will clean up that part of his game and disprove naysayers is yet to be seen, but the way that he moves with the ball in his hands makes him an intriguing asset for the Chiefs’ screen game. He tends to try and break runs outside a little early, rather than allowing for blocking to develop in front of him, so maybe he could settle into a short pass-catching role with his apparent comfort working through space in the flat.

“Whether he becomes a receiving threat, earns a percentage of the carries out of the backfield, or is only around for depth on the offense, we will likely see him on the field in some capacity. If nothing else, as a spark plug for the special teams.”

Proctor then went on to explain that Pacheco could have a similar NFL trajectory to former Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

“With blazing 4.37 40-yard dash speed, seeing number 10 haul in punts and/or kickoffs would be reminiscent of Tyreek Hill’s early days in Kansas City,” he continued. “If that is to be Isiah Pacheco’s first role with the Chiefs, fans can only hope that he will experience a similar trajectory of success.”

Pacheco Honored in Hometown

Over the weekend, Pacheco was honored by his peers in his hometown of Vineland, New Jersey for making it to the NFL.

A parade was held in Pacheco’s name, and his former high school, Vineland South High School, retired his No. 1 high school jersey. The town has also opted to make June 18 “Isiah Pacheco Day” moving forward.


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