There were just 12 picks left in the 2022 NFL draft.
At that point anyone who hadn’t been selected had those thoughts creeping into their mind, “Will, I not get picked in the draft?”
There is no doubt that those thoughts crept into the mind of Rutgers RB Isiah Pacheco. When his phone rang ahead of pick No. 251, he was so taken aback by the Kansas City Chiefs’ call that he didn’t even believe the moment was real.
“I was honestly questioning it,” Pacheco told local beat reporters. “I said, ‘for real?’ The GM got on the phone and I said, ‘are you serious?’ He said, ‘yes, just keep an eye out on the TV, we’re turning this card in. We’re pleased to have you and good luck.’ For me it was totally shocking. The running backs coach told me, ‘I told you I’d be back for you.’ Once he told me that I’m like, ‘you know you were right, and I definitely really appreciate you coach for believing in me. It’s time to get to work.’”
Being made a seventh-round draft pick is hardly a guarantee to make an NFL team. It is an opportunity to go out there and prove that you belong, which is exactly what Pacheco says he’s willing to do. He knows that he has a skill set that can complement that of guys like Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Ronald Jones, but now he has to showcase that and compete against other more established players to prove it.
“You know, definitely being a guy that can compete on all three downs, pass protection, being able to catch the ball, being able to run the ball on first and second down whenever we need to gain the short-yardage,” Pacheco explained. “And being able to compete on special teams, more specifically, coming in the door, giving 120 percent, competing and willing to take another grown man’s job.”
Brett Veach said during his pre-draft press conference that there would be a 1000-yard rusher to come out of the seventh round of this draft class because of the sheer depth of the running back class. When Pacheco was told about that, he didn’t hesitate to say that he could be that guy.
“Absolutely,” Pacheco said. “Being a guy that had few injuries, being able to come up with a plan to take care of my body. Coming from Rutgers and being able to run with the line — no offense to my guys from Rutgers— but we struggled a bit there with the offensive line. Being able to come and compete early at the next level with a good offensive line is big time for me. For me to come out and block my behind off for Patrick (Mahomes) will be a big standout for me to get out on the field on third downs.”
One area where Pacheco expects to make an instant impact is on passing downs in pass-blocking situations. He’s highly motivated to do whatever it takes — including the dirty work like pass protection — in order to help this team compete for a championship.
“Definitely I’m excited to block for Patrick Mahomes and willing to compete for a championship,” Pacheco said. “I never won a championship within all my football years, I always won baseball, basketball championships, so to go out there and to compete for a Super Bowl this year, with (Travis) Kelce and Mahomes, I’m just ready to compete.”