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2022 Chiefs Rookie Outlook

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Isiah PachecoAssociated Press

The Chiefs rookie running back has looked plenty athletic and shifty in camp. He’s already in the RB1/2 conversation.

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The Kansas City Chiefs made 10 picks during the 2022 NFL draft and have signed several other contributors during college free agency, adding an influx of first-year talent to the roster. The Rutgers running back Isiah Pacheco was a 3-year starter who led the Scarlet Knights in rushing in each of the last 3 seasons but wasn’t selected until the 7th round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Chiefs. Despite that, Pacheco fell into a great position with coach Andy Reid and already he’s showing the Kingdom why the Chiefs had great faith in drafting him and his outlook could be similar to Elijah Mitchell who wasn’t selected until the 6th round of 2021 NFL Draft by the 49ers and had an immediate impact as a rookie. I will show what Pacheco brings to the Chiefs and how he fits for the 2022 squad.

Mini scouting report:

Pacheco is a well-built running back just like Kareem Hunt was who offers the same good size like Hunt (both are 5-foot-10, 216 pounds), power, and strength. But Pacheco can BURN. He has the same 4.37 40-yard dash time like former Chiefs running back/return specialist Knile Davis. Davis was 5-foot-11, 227 pounds, fast, and had big-play

ability. His fumbling problem was a big concern. However, with Pacheco that won’t be an issue because Pacheco has bigger arms (30.5 inches) and hand size (9.25 inches) than Davis (29.75 inch arms and 8.58 inch hands).

Not only is he tough to bring down but he has that speed and elusiveness to make people miss. He makes big plays in space. He has a good combination of speed and power. Like Kareem Hunt, when he makes contact with the defender, he has incredible contact balance and the legs keep continuing to move.Where he’s getting positive yards. He also has shown he’s an underrated route runner as a running back. He can also be a dangerous returner on kickoff returns. He has the ability to hit it right up the field north and south, Running back style so he would be really hard to tackle. That’ll be problematic for opposing teams.

How does he fit with the Chiefs?:

Just like 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell before his first NFL action, Pacheco was at first projected to be a depth back. Mitchell became the Niners’ feature back, posting 963 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games as a rookie. Mitchell is now the top RB1 on the Niners’ roster entering his second season. Pacheco can do the same thing. Pacheco’s Knile Davis-like speed makes a difference. He can get through the hole faster than Edwards-Helaire. It might be that simple as to why he’s getting more reps with the first team early in Training camp. Pacheco has done an impressive job of maximizing his opportunities.

Pacheco is going to fit in nicely in the Chiefs zone-heavy run scheme like Kareem Hunt. He is a very good athlete at the running back position with size, speed, good vision and he is going to be an asset finding cutbacks when presented and setting up blockers in space. He’s comfortable flexing out and shows promise as a route runner which why is Pacheco could give the Chiefs something extra in the passing game. It could be as simple as throwing a swing route, making a guy miss, and turning that play into 15 yards.

The Chiefs could also incorporate some two man-blocking plays with Pacheco, which is a change from what they generally do. That could also speak to their confidence in Pacheco and his versatility. Some of the issues Pacheco has in pass protection are fixable, and if the coaching staff get those addressed, he’s going to be an excellent value

for the offense. Pacheco is going to be a quality special teams player like Davis was. He’s smart, has high character and plays hard in every facet of the game. You can work with a player like Pacheco that does little things that help his team win. Pacheco is already benefiting from the developmental structure and culture the Chiefs are providing him and, in turn, they potentially have a bell-cow running back for at least Pacheco’s rookie contract.

Conclusion:

Pacheco is clearly a guy who can make plays when the ball is in his hands. He's got blazing speed, can make excellent cuts, and has the size to really hurt defenders at the second level. The Chiefs can feel comfortable using Pacheco more as a change of pace from Ronald Jones or Jerick McKinnon even with Jones or McKinnon together with Pacheco in the backfield. If he can continue to stay consistent like Elijah Mitchell did for the 49ers, Pacheco over the long term can not only be an effective fill-in for Clyde Edwards-Helaire (if he were to get injured again) but even his replacement as the featured back whenever Edwards-Helaire’s Chiefs career is finished.

Video Links

Isiah Pacheco: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7caL0H42fTk&t=22s Knile Davis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxUws0A59K8 Kareem Hunt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5V2xyoFGcM Elijah Mitchell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRFyHM2G-xA

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