It is the middle of October, and we are sitting right at six games into the 2022 season. The Kansas City Chiefs are coming off a heartbreaker of a loss to the Buffalo Bills at home and prepping for a Super Bowl 54 rematch of sorts against the 49ers in San Francisco this Sunday.
s are roughly a third of the way through the regular season, and several of the Chiefs rookies have already begun to separate themselves from the pack. Some perhaps deserve more credit than they have been given up to this point, and others deserve to see a little bit more of the field.
When discussing those rookies that deserve more playing time, this brings to mind Chiefs rookie running back Isiah Pacheco. He has yet to pound the rock more than a handful of times a game, but when he is cradling that football in his arms, he does not disappoint.
Are the Kansas City Chiefs getting all they can from rookie running back Isiah Pacheco?
If given more of an opportunity, Pacheco could prove to be a diamond in the rough of this Chiefs’ offense, and could end up being rather complementary to a running game that already features Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon.
Up to this point, the Chiefs have utilized Pacheco for kick off/punt returns and hauling the rock in short yardage situations, but he could be on the brink for a breakout game and destined for a larger overall role in the Chiefs offense, if given that chance.
The Chiefs did not draft Pacheco until the 7th round of the 2022 NFL draft, but before Pacheco would pack his bags for the move all the way from New Jersey down to Kansas City, he was wrappring his career at Rutgers. Pacheco saw consistent playing time during his college years and by the time he declared for the 2022 NFL Draft, he’d stacked up 563 rushing attempts, 2,442 rushing yards, and 18 touchdowns on the ground. He also caught 47 passes for 249 yards and 1 touchdown, all of this over the course of four seasons as a Scarlet Knight.
Now, I know, I know… college football is not the NFL. I get it. But it is worth mentioning that Rutgers (while it is not in the SEC which is known for its defense) is also not in the Big 12 (which is known for its lack of defense). Point being, Pacheco was racking up these numbers against the defenses of Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, not NFL-caliber perhaps, but not exactly varsity high school defenses either.
Since being drafted by the Chiefs, Pacheco has seen limited playing time, but almost every time the rock is in his hands, Pacheco makes it count. During Week 1 against the Cardinals, Pacheco had 12 carries for 62 yards, a rushing TD, and 1 fumble (give the kid a break, it was his first ever NFL game)
If memory serves me correctly, the Chiefs put that game well out of reach in the second half, and I believe most of Pacheco’s carries came during garbage time, after the outcome of the game had already been decided. Even while on mop up duty, Pacheco still emerged with 12 carries for 62 yards and a TD. Imagine what he might be able to do if he saw more touches.
During Week 2 against the Chargers, Pacheco only ran for 6 yards but he was only given 2 carries. Perhaps he could have done more if given the chance? He would not fair much better in Week 3 against the Colts, with only 9 yards on 3 carries and another fumble (again, cut him some slack). We have seen more experienced players than Pacheco fumble the ball, and during that particular game, Pacheco’s butterfingers were the least of the Chiefs offensive problems.
During Week 4 against a vaunted Buccaneers’ defense, Pacheco would have a very similar outing to Week 1 against the Cards, amassing 63 yards on 11 carries. Again, while those are not eyebrow-raising numbers, that’s a lot of production in limited duty for a rookie back against a great defense. Pacheco’s production would dip yet again during Weeks 5 and 6 against the Raiders and Bills respectively, only amassing a total of 9 yards for both games, but he was only given 3 carries in both those games combined.
Pacheco has also been utilized in the return game, where he has accumulated 250 yards on 12 returns, with an average of 20 yards per return—his longest being 42 yards.
As you can see by the stats above, when given the chance as he was in the Cards and Bucs games, Pacheco may not make any SportsCenter highlight reels, but he has produced more than enough in those games to warrant him a more prominent role in what some might dare to call a somewhat inconsistent Chiefs offense.