The hype surrounding Kansas City Chiefs seventh-round running back Isiah Pacheco continues to build as we get closer to the regular season.
The rookie has seen his reps with the starting offense increase, including a brief but impressive outing in the first preseason game.
On Wednesday, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy continued to coo about the young runner's ability but noted that the rookie still needs to work on the reading and timing of his runs -- something he struggled with at Rutgers.
"He's a very confident young man," Bieniemy said, per a team transcript. "Now you're talking about a kid that plays hard. Pacheco plays hard. The thing I need Pacheco to do, and first of all, he's doing a great job, he has tremendous work ethics. As a young back, this is probably one of the toughest things that they need to learn, is allowing the game to come to him, learning how to be a patient runner, OK? Understand exactly what's going on up front so now he can have a better feel on how to spread his shoulders up, press it and then read it out from there. But as far as work ethics, [he] works hard."
The rookie has quickly overtaken Ronald Jones as the top early-down back behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire and made RoJo a likely cut candidate. But despite the hype, Bieniemy said the rookie still has strides to make, particularly in the blocking aspect.
"As far as a tough runner who will try and find 4.5 yards? Checks that box," the OC said. "And then on top of that, he does a great job in the pass game where he's catching it, and he's still learning to perfect his craft in pass pro. And it ain't so much with his attitude and blocking. It's just making sure he knows exactly who to pick up. And that takes a little while for a young guy."
Generally, not much is expected of seventh-round picks, especially in Year 1. Pacheco earning a significant role out of the gate would have sounded like a surprise in May. But after weeks of hype and seeing the young back's ability, he seems destined to carve out a role early in the season alongside CEH and Jerick McKinnon.
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