The Kansas City Chiefs had one of the top-rated drafts in the NFL by most accounts, and while their top picks worked out pretty nicely, many believe that general manager Brett Veach hit on some sleepers as well — Darian Kinnard anyone?
Another interesting player to watch is Rutgers running back Isaih Pacheco, a 2022 seventh-round selection. The Chiefs made a concerted effort to add to the backfield this offseason with signings like Ronald Jones II and two undrafted free agents — Tayon Fleet-Davis and Jerrion Ealy.
Throw Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Derrick Gore into the mix and it’s easy to overlook Pacheco, although NFL Network’s Peter Schrager advises not to.
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Schrager Calls Pacheco ‘One of the Most Explosive Running Backs in This Draft’
During a segment of the NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football,” Schrager and NFL insider Tom Pelissero highlighted UDFAs and late-round picks that they really loved. That’s where Pacheco came in.
“The last guy I want to talk about is a seventh-round pick, not an undrafted player, and it’s Rutgers running back Isaih Pacheco,” the senior NFL writer voiced. “If you haven’t seen Pacheco play, he’s one of the most explosive running backs in this draft, [and] somehow falls to the seventh round to the Kansas City Chiefs.”
Schrager continued: “What I love about this kid is his story, an unbelievable one where he has lost two different siblings to heinous, heinous situations. He has lost both his brother and his sister [and] he is carrying on the tradition of his entire family. Pacheco wears that with the back of his name on his jersey but he is carrying a whole town, a whole family, and I loved watching him play at Rutgers.”
Wow — talk about motivation. It sounds like Pacheco and his family have gone through something unimaginable and the 5-foot-11 back sure runs as if he’s got some extra fuel in the tank.
He finished his Rutgers career with 2,442 yards at a 4.3-clip. He added 249 yards through the air and 19 total touchdowns.
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‘Pacheco Plays the Game Like a Race Car With No Brakes’
Tied with Pierre Strong Jr. for the fastest 40-yard dash time out of the entire class (4.37 seconds), Pacheco could end up being an absolute steal for KC. His relative athletic score was 8.86, which ranked 187th out of the 1,632 running backs tested since 1987.
NFL draft expert Lance Zierlein described him as “hard-charging” and “high-energy,” comparing him to a “race car with no brakes.”
He continued: “His feet never stop moving and his furious tempo creates opportunities but also limits his ability to set up defenders and force missed tackles. He processes the front fairly quickly and has the agility to re-adjust his running lanes to create something out of nothing, but he also has a tendency to bounce runs wide too frequently. Pacheco plays the game with an NFL demeanor and could give himself an even better chance of becoming an RB2/3 if he can step up his pass protection and third-down value.”
Pacheco didn’t have much help in college either. He did all his work behind a Rutgers offensive line that Pro Football Focus ranked 112th out of 127 FBS teams through the first 13 weeks. “The run-blocking, in particular, has been the downfall with a grade rank in that area that ranks fifth-to-last in the FBS,” wrote Anthony Treash about Rutgers.
Lastly, the Chiefs prospect was a team captain and leader for the Scarlet Knights. Schrager concluded that he “might make an immediate impact, day one.” This running back competition just got a whole lot more fun in 2022.