Following the offseason trade of Tyreek Hill, one of the biggest preseason adjustments for Kansas City Chiefs fans will be seeing a new player wearing the No. 10 jersey. That number now belongs to former Rutgers running back Isiah Pacheco, whom the Chiefs selected in the seventh round of April’s draft.
Pacheco was among the players to speak to reporters after the opening day of rookie training camp practices on Saturday. Pacheco looks like he’s set to continue a legacy of speed represented by his jersey number — evidenced by 4.37 40-yard dash time at this year’s NFL Combine, which was the fastest among all running backs.
“I used to be a little chubby,” Pacheco noted in reference to his speed. “But I got myself down in shape. [I’ve been] preparing for it and just took advantage of those opportunities before.”
As Pacheco enters his first NFL training camp during a very hot Midwestern summer, conditioning and preparation will be key; all players will be playing through extreme heat. Pacheco appeared to be ready for it.
“It felt great,” he said of his first practice. “I came back in shape, so I was ready to hit the road when we started. Training in south [New] Jersey — it’s really hot out there right now, and [it’s] 100. Just taking advantage of the heat and practicing in the back at home. Getting prepared for the camp. Something I took advantage of.”
Though Pacheco’s elite speed is likely to create camp buzz, his draft evaluations also included high marks for his blocking. For that, Pacheco credited Rutgers offensive line coach Augie Hoffmann, who served as his position coach for most of his Rutgers career. (Note: Hoffmann spoke about Pacheco with Arrowhead Pride’s Stephen Serda earlier this week).
“I’m pretty good [at pass protection], coming from an offensive [line] coach at the running back position,” Pacheco explained. “Coach Augie definitely prepared me for the next level. I feel like I’m a good size, to where I can take on a block and force one.”
While he has not yet been able to display these skills with his new team, Pacheco is confident that even the seven-on-seven drills Kansas City is running during these initial rookie and quarterback practices will help him prepare.
“Seven-on-seven helps you because whenever there’s a guy getting the ball down the field, what matters is the finish,” he said. “Go find that man with the ball and go follow him and get in shape.”
As he works on making the Kansas City roster, Pacheco said is ready to contribute — whether it is as a runner, blocker or on special teams.
“Wherever Coach wants me to play, I’ll be happy to do it,” he declared. “Just get out there and bust my behind so I can be on the field. [I’m] just being myself — and whatever Coach wants me to do, I’m going to do it.”