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Isiah Pacheco

Seventh-rounder could have role with KC

Isiah Pacheco has been the most impressive of the late-round running backs. With Kansas City not having a proven, reliable player at the position, it’s reasonable to wonder if Pacheco at some point this season could have a decent role in one of the league’s best offenses.

Pacheco didn’t put up big numbers at Rutgers, but he got the attention of the coaching staff quickly. They were using him some with their first-unit offense in their preseason games. He led the team with 66 rushing yards (on 16 carries) in the preseason while also catching 3 passes for 21 yards.

GM Brett Veach says the team has been very impressed with Pacheco’s ability to be more than just a runner.

“Again, with all these rookies … they’re going to know how to run the ball when given the opportunity but the blitz pickups, the protection checks and then just being consistent with their hands out of the backfield is something from day one that I think that Isiah has shown and we’re excited,” Veach said. “Like all these young guys, we’re excited where he is now and that he has a great future ahead of him.”

It would not be a surprise, I think, if Pacheco plays some. Clyde Edwards-Helaire should start, but he’s a smaller back who’s thus far fallen short of expectations. They’ve got Jerick McKinnon, who played well at the end of last year, but he’s an older back who’s had problems staying healthy.

Kansas City also kept Ronald Jones. He’s a former second-round pick who had some success running for Tampa Bay, but prior to the last preseason game, it was looking pretty certain he’d be released. Jones is probably their No. 4 running back right now. With Jones being a lesser pass catcher who doesn’t play on special teams, I don’t think he’ll be active in their early-season games.

So add Pacheco to the list of late-round flyers with an outside chance of maybe doing something at some point.

At the same time, Pacheco was selected in the seventh round, and it’s rare to find notable backs at that point in the draft. In the last 20 years, only two running backs selected in the seventh round have finished their rookie season with top-50 numbers (using PPR scoring). In 2012 Bryce Brown (Eagles) and Daryl Richardson (Rams) finished as the 43rd and 49th running backs.

Five other running backs chosen in the seventh round have put up notable numbers later in their careers: Chris Carson, Peyton Hillis, Rashad Jennings, Myles Gaskin and Ahmad Bradshaw. (I’ve got those guys tagged with black dots.)

2012Bryce Brown, Phil.56456499.043
2012Daryl Richardson, St.L.475163089.846
2008• Peyton Hillis, Den.3431796102.251
2007DeShawn Wynn, G.B.20373460.671
2016Dwayne Washington, Det.26562148.774
2018Justin Jackson, LAC206135261.175
2009• Rashad Jennings, Jac.202101152.376
2017• Chris Carson, Sea.20859139.786
2009L. Stephens-Howling, Ariz.1583231.887
2019• Myles Gaskin, Mia.13351131.490
2002Rock Cartwright, Was.22121131.390
2011Bruce Miller, S.F.883126.193
2007• Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG19012128.293
2014Kerwynn Williams, Ariz.24611027.796
2005Noah Herron, G.B.-Pit.1230224.398
2020Malcolm Perry, Mia.592124.799
2022Isiah Pacheco, K.C.?????

—Ian Allan

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