Chiefs Priority Signing Chose KC Over AFC Playoff Contender

Deneric Prince

Getty Kansas City Chiefs running back Deneric Prince with Tulsa in 2020.

Kansas City Chiefs priority undrafted running back Deneric Prince has been getting a lot of attention after rookie minicamp concluded on May 8.

Arrowhead Pride’s Pete Sweeney labeled Prince as an early “standout” on May 6 and head coach Andy Reid told reporters that the youngster’s “size” and “strength” really jumps out at you. During the same media availability session on May 8, Prince followed up Big Red at the podium, noting that he chose the Chiefs over the Miami Dolphins in free agency.

“I just had two options,” the Tulsa product revealed, with the Dolphins being the second one. As to why Prince chose Kansas City, his response was clear. “The running back coach, Coach [Todd Pinkston],” the ball carrier replied. “We had a lot of zoom [calls], I feel like this system would be good for me.”

Pinkston was just hired as the new RB coach in 2023 after Greg Lewis left for Baltimore.

Chiefs Paid Deneric Prince Big Money to Sign in KC

Prince may have chosen the Chiefs because of Coach Pinkston, but the guaranteed money didn’t hurt. “Prince was awarded a contract that contained $216,000 in guarantees and a $15,000 signing bonus from the Chiefs,” according to Pro Football Network’s Ian Cummings. That’s more guaranteed money than a seventh-round pick like CB Jaylen Watson or fellow RB Isiah Pacheco — although both eventually earned well over their initial guaranteed number.

Cummings detailed what KC is getting in the Tulsa runner. “He has the athletic tools that the Chiefs covet, standing at 6’0″, 216 pounds, with 4.41 speed. And at the Shrine Bowl, he showcased smooth athleticism on his cuts and ability as a receiving threat as well,” the scouting expert relayed.

Concluding: “With a strong offseason, Prince could fight for a spot in Kansas City’s RB rotation behind Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon. Especially with Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s fifth-year option being declined, Prince has an opportunity to earn a place.”

Pacheco is also recovering from two surgeries this spring, leaving the door open for a prospect like Prince. At Tulsa, the Chiefs new RB ran for over 5.0 yards per carry in all three seasons. He never topped 1,000 yards but that was due to lack of attempts, not production.

Prince added 15 total touchdowns (14 rushing, one receiving) and 162 receiving yards.

Ahead of the draft, NFL Network scout Lance Zierlein projected him as a seventh-round selection or priority UDFA — he was the latter. The draft analyst noted that his “size and power” could “capture the attention of evaluators, but he needs to run like a power back on a more frequent basis.” Zierlein went on: “He runs with average vision and below-average burst, so becoming a decisive downhill back will be critical if he’s going to have a chance to make it on the next level.”

Deneric Prince Enjoyed Watching Jamaal Charles With Chiefs

During the press conference on May 8, Prince praised ex-Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, as well as the current KC ball carrier, Pacheco.

“Growing up, just watching Jamaal Charles and how he breaks long runs is really exciting to me,” Prince stated. “I feel like I could do the same thing [in Kansas City].”

He also noted that Pacheco’s rise as a seventh-round selection has been inspiring for an undrafted RB like himself.

“Seeing how they play him as a seventh-round pick just shows that they put the best player in [no matter who that is],” Prince commented, adding that “I like that.”

The rookie said his greatest attributes are his “work ethic, paying attention to detail and being a [professional].”

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