A seventh-round rookie out of Rutgers is climbing the Chiefs running back depth chart and the team is deploying his electric skill-set around the formation. Isiah Pacheco is turning heads of his coaches and teammates and now has dynasty, redraft, and best ball managers scrambling to learn more information about the Rutgers rookie.
Pacheco is battling Jerick McKinnon and Ronald Jones for the RB2 spot behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Even though McKinnon can feel Pacheco rising up the depth chart, he still went out of his way to compliment the rookie.
“These last couple of days he has shown what he can do with the ball,” McKinnon said about Pacheco. “Like I told him and the other guys, when you come in as a rookie, it’s going to be that big learning curve. Especially now, everything is flying. In OTA’s, it’s a little slower and you get to learn with the coach, and they break it down. Once you get to camp, it’s all cylinders. Just watching those guys each day just learn and come out and make progress has been amazing.”
AN ATHLETIC SPECIMEN AT RUTGERS
Pacheco has been turning heads at training camp just as he did as the bright spot in a lowly Rutgers’ squad. After recording 2,691 yards and 19 touchdowns over his college career, the 5’10, 216 lb posted a 4.37 40, tied for fasting among RBs at the combine.
“He just has the right temperament,” Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy said. “He’s just a tough guy that doesn’t take anything for granted. He has that attitude and determined mindset that wants to be great, just like everybody in that group. But at the end of the day, he understands, ‘When I get those opportunities, I have to maximize that opportunity and make the very most of it.’”
A CROWDED, YET OPEN BACKFIELD
Pacheco enters a running back group infamous for its fantasy unpredictability. Last year, Clyde Edwards-Helaire disappointed his fantasy owners by finishing as the RB38. Jerrick McKinnon and Derrick Gore crept into CEH’s touches, as McKinnon surprisingly became the go-to running back in the postseason and Gore accumulated 51 rushing attempts. Additionally, KC added former Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones this off-season.
“We like that room. It’s gonna be a really competitive room,” Chiefs GM Brett Veach told The Star on Thursday. “I’m excited to see those guys do the 9-on-7s, do some of the live stuff now, because it’ll be a lot of fun to watch those guys in pads.”
The Chiefs’ backfield is riddled with questionable running backs that have somewhat proven their worth, but no single option seems like the clear alpha heading into 2022.
“That’s a tough running back room now. That’s gonna be a tough battle,” Veach added.
MOVING PACHECO AROUND THE FORMATION
The Chiefs finished 20th in rush attempts per game, indicating that they prefer throwing instead of relying on the ground attack. However, with the offseason departure of Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs will need to be more balanced and creative in opening up the passing attack for the All-Pro Mahomes. KC will look for new tools to fill in for Hill, who was used as a Swiss Army Knife. Pacheco’s sub-4.4 speed and elite overall athleticism may be exactly what they need in the backfield and possibly in the slot.
Deep-Sleeper With Bonafide Potential
Pacheco, now sporting the same No. 10 jersey as Hill did during his tenure in KC, seems to be an intriguing target in the later rounds of dynasty, keeper, and Underdog Fantasy best ball (214 ADP) leagues. His game-breaking speed has extra potential to shine in KC’s creative spread offense.
Perhaps the running back that Kansas City has been searching for, Pacheco’s raw talent combined with the electric offense led by Mahomes, might be the perfect synergy for fantasy owners with their eyes on late-round players with home run potential. Monitor our Instagram throughout training camp for updates on the Chiefs’ running back competition. If Pacheco manages to sneak onto the Chiefs’ regular season roster, you may regret passing on him in your drafts.