The Brett Veach running back experience has been a roller coaster for Chiefs Kingdom—from setting the floor with a first-round reach in 2020 to uncovering Isiah Pacheco in last year's seventh round.
Veach's eye for talent, however, has been made indisputably clear through his emergence as a top-tier NFL GM. His vision has been highlighted by savvy spending at the running back position over the past two draft cycles in particular. Some spectacular talents at the position went off the board early in each of them, but Veach flexed his RB scouting muscle after the draft concluded in 2023. This year's sneaky find came in the shape of Tulsa's Deneric Prince, who the Chiefs nabbed as an undrafted free agent.
If you like how hard Isiah Pacheco ran as a rookie, you're going to love the way that Deneric Prince can supplement his tenacity. Prince is another guy who appears to seek out the physical aspect of the position, taking every opportunity he gets to lower the shoulder. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry over the past three seasons at Tulsa, and 3.3 yards after contact per attempt. He is not only explosive through the trenches but has a contact balance similar to some of this year's most highly touted RB prospects. Both Jahmyr Gibbs (Lions first-round pick) and Zach Charbonnet (Seahawks second round-pick) averaged 3.53 YCO/A in their respective college careers.
Tulsa running back Deneric Prince will surprise everyone when given a chance this preseason for the Chiefs.
While Prince shows up as another bruiser on the stat sheet, he is notably shiftier than Pacheco and has the ability to wear out the second level in a variety of ways. This rookie brings the potential for the Chiefs to run the ball with physicality and durability in tandem and for cheap. Between Pacheco and Prince, the Chiefs can have aggressive and fresh legs in the backfield for four quarters every Sunday, but that's not the ceiling for Prince.
While his measurements are nearly identical to Pacheco on paper, his arms and legs look like they belong to a person a foot taller than himself. At 6 feet, 215 pounds, he checks the durability box, but his unique length makes him stand out as a pass-catching threat as well. Jerick McKinnon was brought back in free agency and his presence is likely to affect the playbook similarly to last season, but Prince is going to make a tough case for both the RB3 and third-down back roles in camp.
The real challenge in projecting a UDFA running back in the current Chiefs' system is the unknowns about CEH and his role moving forward. Only time will tell, and Deneric Prince may well have the same prospect vibes as Justyn Ross, but it was around this time last year that we were all excited about Isiah Pacheco. Who is to say that Brett Veach didn't hit another home run this year with Prince?