Isiah Pacheco named ‘honorable mention’ in new ranking of league’s top backs

Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacehco enters his third season in the NFL in 2024 after back-to-back seasons of 800 or more rushing yards.

Recently, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler began his annual series in which he polls the NFL’s top executives, coaches and scouts to create positional rankings. He then lists the top 10, writing a bit about each player. On Monday, Fowler began with running backs — and though Pacheco did not make the top 10, he was listed as an honorable mention.

Here’s what Fowler wrote about the Chiefs’ running back:

Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs leaned on Pacheco heavily in the playoffs last season, and he contributed with 81 carries for 313 yards and three touchdowns. “He’s a bowling ball, tough as s—t, tough to bring down and faster than he looks,” an NFC scout said.

Only two “honorable mentions” were listed ahead of Pacheco, indicating he isn’t all that far off from becoming one of the top 10 running backs in the NFL.

Pacheco had 935 rushing yards in 2023 and would have likely cracked 1,000 had it not been for a late-season shoulder injury that cost him two regular-season games. A season earlier, he accumulated 835 rushing yards despite only earning the starter job midway through the year.

The production of the former 2022 seventh-rounder has been very good — and maybe the only reason it hasn’t been great or elite is a matter of circumstance. Pacheco plays for head coach Andy Reid and with quarterback Patrick Mahomes in an offense that will always tend to be pass-first. In addition, he only started half of the 2022 season and was injured for a portion of 2023.

Unlike a year ago, Pacheco has been able to participate in every aspect of the offseason program, a point he believes will propel him to new heights this season. Perhaps at this time next year, the league’s decision-makers will have more to say.

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