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NFL Preseason: Isiah Pacheco impresses in first NFL action

The former Rutgers star has a chance to be named the starter in Kansas City.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 23 Michigan State at Rutgers Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL preseason is underway. Teams have gotten a taste of live action as games began over the weekend. Starters were able to get their feet wet while others continue to fight for jobs.

This includes former Rutgers star and current Kansas City Chief Isiah Pacheco.

The Chiefs landed Pacheco in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft and they might not have known what they had until training camp started. Pacheco impressed right away because of his elite speed and versatility out of the backfield. He was named the starting kick returner for the preseason and might have a chance to earn a spot in the backfield as well.

Pacheco gained six yards on two carries and added one catch for five yards. He also turned in a 37-yard kickoff return. Pacheco did not log much playing time but in the first preseason game, this is a good sign. It is looking like the former Scarlet Knight has a chance to be a key part of this offense for the Chiefs.

“I thought he ran hard and played fast,” Reid said, via the Kansas City Star. “He didn’t look like he shied down from anything, pretty accurate with the things that he did. I thought he did a nice job. He’s one of the young guys that I was happy had a chance to play.”

Patrick Mahomes led a touchdown drive in Saturday’s 19-14 loss to the Chicago Bears. He finished 6-for-7 with 60 yards and a touchdown. The All-World quarterback had some positive things to say about Pacheco prior to the game.

“Yeah, I mean he’s physically gifted,” said Mahomes after Thursday’s training camp practice. “He’s a smart player. He practices really hard. I mean, he’s big and fast. When you’re big and fast and smart, usually good things happen.”

The Chiefs used many running backs over the course of the game. Clyde Edwards-Helaire carried the ball twice while free-agent signing Ronald Jones led the team with four carries, but gained just one yard. It is clear that Kansas City has a plethora of backs that can be used over the course of the season.

With Mahomes running the show, Kansas City is a pass-first offense and that is not going to change in 2022-2023. Pacheco has the ability to act as a receiver out of the backfield and that gives him a leg up within the offense.

It is unlikely that the Chiefs name a starter that is going to get a bulk of the work. It will be interesting to see how Pacheco is used and what percentage of the snaps he gets once the season begins. Early signs point to Pacheco, bot only being on the 53-man roster, but being used at a high rate within the offense and on special teams.