With Kansas City Chiefs training camp less than a month away, Arrowhead Pride has reached out to the club’s rookie draftees’ college coaches to get to know them better. Our “Rookie Conversations” continue with former Rutgers running backs coach Augie Hoffmann, who speaks about his time coaching seventh-round draft pick Isiah Pacheco. Hoffmann is the Rutgers offensive line coach for 2022.
Here is a sample of what we learned about Pacheco:
Pacheco had the fastest 40-yard dash time of any running back at the NFL combine. Was his pure athleticism apparent the first time you saw him on the football field?
Hoffmann: “The big thing that jumped out was just how hard and physical he runs… If you watch his game tape, he runs possessed. He’s a physical downhill kid who can break away. When you look at him, and he’s over 200 pounds, runs the way he runs, and he runs behind his pads. He’s really got something that can translate to the next level. Last year, people started to see it and then at the NFL Combine. In the NFL, you’re one play away, and if he gets an opportunity, he’s going to make the best of it.”
Pacheco did some kick returning during his freshman year, but that didn’t continue throughout his collegiate career. The Chiefs — no longer with Tyreek Hill and Byron Pringle — may like his skill there. Could he fill that role for Kansas City?
Hoffmann: “The biggest thing is that if they ask him to do it, then he’s going to do it, and he’s going to do it as well as he possibly can. Some of the biggest strides he made from Year 1 to Year 2 with us was his ability to get downhill with very little wasted movement. Especially in the return game, there’s not a lot of time to make people miss. You have to get north and south with one cut and hit it. We spent the whole offseason last year working on that with him, and it showed up this past season with him in games. If they ask him to do it, he’s going to have a better grip on getting his foot in the ground and getting north and south.”
Pacheco improved as a pass-catcher throughout his college career. Could you see the Chiefs utilizing him in the passing game — even despite a crowded running back room?
Hoffmann: “I do. In our offense the last two years, the running back is a huge piece of the puzzle. He’s not just a blocker; he’s out on pretty much every route, and he caught a good amount of balls. When he wasn’t catching them in games, he was catching them in practice. He will understand the emphasis on the running back catching the ball out of the backfield and while it’s not something we did a ton of, he’s well versed in it. I know that if it’s one of the aspects that will get him on the field he’ll keep working on it. They are getting an all-around back that loves the games and is willing to do whatever he can to stay on the field.”
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