NFL Writer Praises Chiefs Sleeper While Slamming Raiders

Isiah Pacheco

Getty Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco against the Las Vegas Raiders in January of 2023.

Under head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes II, the Kansas City Chiefs have taken over as the New England Patriots of the NFL — with a level of sustained success unlike any other franchise in the sport. It’s not just because of Reid and Mahomes, however.

KC general manager Brett Veach deserves a ton of credit too. After all, he had a large hand in scouting and trading up to select Mahomes according to Coach Reid despite being the co-director of player personnel at the time of the 2017 draft.

The Chiefs GM has also hit on gem after gem in late rounds, turning afterthought draft capital into sleepers time and time again. On October 3, Minneapolis’ Star Tribune and NFL writer Mark Craig wrote an article on running back Isiah Pacheco ahead of the Minnesota Vikings’ Week 5 matchup with the Chiefs.

The column’s intention was to praise Kansas City for finding draft steals that the Vikings and other teams have overlooked, but Craig threw the Las Vegas Raiders franchise right under the bus in the process — and what KC fan doesn’t appreciate that?

Raiders Passed on RB Isiah Pacheco Not Once but Twice, Highlighting Chiefs’ Draft Wizardry

“Wanna host five consecutive conference title games while going to three Super Bowls and winning two world championships?” Craig began during the Star Tribune article. “Keep drafting better players than everyone else. And do it while handcuffed in a system designed to make it easier for everyone else to draft better players.”

After briefly talking about Mahomes, Craig got to the linchpin of his write-up: Pacheco.

“This is a tale of how three teams — Chiefs, Raiders and Vikings — who went looking for a running back on Day 3 of the 2022 draft found their guys,” the writer explained. “It’s not a pretty tale for the Vikings. But rest assured it’s much more embarrassing for a Raiders team that shares the same division with the Chiefs.”

From there, Craig took readers on a walk down memory lane, detailing the late rounds of the 2022 draft and outlining how the current starting ball-carrier came to end up in KC.

“This follow-the-bouncing-ball draft story starts with the Raiders trading up four spots in the fourth round with the Vikings,” he noted. “Las Vegas got the 122nd pick and the 250th overall pick in the seventh round. The Vikings got the 126th pick and the 227th pick of the seventh round.”

“With the 122nd pick, the Raiders selected Georgia running back Zamir White,” Craig went on. “He has 109 yards rushing in 18 games with no starts and has played only 19 snaps on offense this year. With the 126th pick, the Vikings … traded it back to the Raiders for two fifth-rounders (165th and 169th). With that 169th pick, the Vikings took North Carolina running back Ty Chandler.”

Craig acknowledged that Chandler “still has promise,” but also admitted that he only has “47 career yards on 13 carries and couldn’t convince the Vikings not to trade for Cam Akers last month.”

This is the really bad part of the story for Las Vegas. “With that 250th pick the Raiders got from the Vikings, Vegas doubled down on RBs and took UCLA’s Brittain Brown. He has yet to play a snap on offense in the NFL,” Craig relayed.

That was the pick directly before the Chiefs took Pacheco at No. 251. As further proof of this trend, Craig also highlighted a trade between the New England Patriots and Kansas City that turned into cornerback Jaylen Watson. In return, KC gave up offensive tackle Yasir Durant, who only “lasted seven games” in New England.

Big Game vs. Jets Meant ‘A Lot’ to Chiefs RB Isiah Pacheco

Pacheco grew up in Vineland, New Jersey, and eventually started for NJ university Rutgers. Needless to say, playing under the bright lights at MetLife Stadium for the first time was a big deal for the local Jersey star.

“It means a lot to me,” Pacheco told reporters after accumulating 158 all-purpose yards throughout the victory. “It was a great feeling. I’ve never been in this stadium before. I’m blessed to see my family here. I couldn’t lose one in Jersey.”

“I could see it from the first snap,” Mahomes said after the game. “You could see it in [Pacheco’s] eyes. He did a great job. He made some big runs when we really needed them.”

The feisty runner is known for his juice and energy, and even Coach Reid admitted that the RB is always “high-octane” like that day-in and day-out. “Every time I got in the huddle, I was telling the O-line, ‘Let’s strain, let’s finish,’” Pacheco shared later. “That was the mindset.”

Next up on the Chiefs tour, Minnesota and a Vikings team that apparently passed on Pacheco in the draft.

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