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The Kansas City Chiefs had several rookies, including two first-round picks (Trent McDuffie and George Karlaftis), step up this season to help them make the Super Bowl. However, the most buzzed-about rookie isn’t either of them. It is seventh-round running back Isiah Pacheco. Here’s everything you need to know about the breakout rookie sensation heading into Super Bowl 57.

Who is Chiefs rookie running back Isiah Pacheco?

Isiah Pacheco of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Isiah Pacheco | Jason Hanna/Getty Images

NFL teams took 21 college running backs in the 2022 NFL draft before the Kansas City Chiefs took Rutgers RB Isiah Pacheco. The former Scarlet Knight went No. 251 overall, just 11 spots before the final pick, Mr. Irrelevant 2022, Brock Purdy.

Pacheco is a New Jersey native who stayed local for college, committing to Rutgers in 2017.

During his four years under head coaches Chris Ash and then Greg Schiano, Pacheco ran the ball 563 times for 2,422 yards and scored 18 rushing touchdowns. He also added 47 catches for 249 yards and one TD. His year-by-year production looked like this:


After his senior year, Isiah Pacheco went to the NFL combine and performed well. He measured 5-foot-11, 216 pounds, and ran a 4.37 40-yard dash.

Despite the production and the excellent measurables, Pacheco nearly fell out of the draft altogether before the Chiefs scooped him up with the 30th pick of the final round.

The rookie runner crushed it at Chiefs training camp and in the preseason

Isiah Pacheco came into Chiefs training camp with little to no expectations. In fact, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jerick McKinnon, Ronald Jones, and Derrick Gore ahead of him on the depth chart, the chances of him making the team were slim.

However, Pacheco impressed from the jump with his running, catching, and kick-returning. He was lights out in practice, and had 16 carries for 66 yards and three catches for 21 yards in three preseason games.

Those numbers don’t jump off the page, but that was because Andy Reid used Pacheco in the preseason like a back who was going to play a lot in the regular season.

Isiah Pacheco beat out Gore, who the Chiefs cut after suffering a thumb injury, and then Jones, who the Chiefs sent to the practice squad. Pacheco then seriously challenged Edwards-Helaire when the regular season arrived.

Isiah Pacheco in the 2022 regular season and playoffs


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Isiah Pacheco opened the season with a bang, putting up 12 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs’ Week 1 blowout over the Arizona Cardinals. In the next two games, Pacheco wasn’t as involved in the offense. He had just five carries for 15 yards, and the team struggled, beating the Los Angeles Chargers by a field goal in Week 2 and losing to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3.

In Week 4, Pacheco was back. He got 11 carries for 63 yards, and the Chiefs came away with a 10-point win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Finally, in Week 7, Pacheco took the starting job from Clyde Edwards-Helaire for good, and the Chiefs went on a 12-1 run that propelled them to the Super Bowl.

All told in his rookie campaign, Pacheco had 170 carries for 830 yards and five rushing touchdowns to go with 13 catches for 130 yards. In the playoffs, the rookie runner stepped up even more, producing 121 yards on 22 rushes and 65 yards on six catches in two postseason games.

If the Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 57, Isiah Pacheco will be a big part of the win.