Kansas City Chiefs RB Isiah Pacheco and new UDFA RB Deneric Prince have a key similarity.
Late Round Fantasy Football’s JJ Zachariason releases weight-adjusted speed scores for NFL draft prospects each year. Players who hit the 40-yard dash time threshold have their height/weight measured against their speed to come up with a composite score. It has proven to be a more accurate way to measure a running back’s speed than simply throwing out the 40-yard dash time they produced at the combine or their pro day.
In 2022, Isiah Pacheco was the leader in speed score with 118.46, which was two full points higher than Breece Hall, who was a second-round draft pick by the New York Jets and the top pick at the running back position that season.
Running back Speed Scores (weight-adjusted 40 times) for this year's class. pic.twitter.com/cetQEqrQZu
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) March 5, 2022
Fast forward to 2023, and Deneric Prince leads his draft class in with a 114.22 speed score. That’s over four points higher than the next closest player with No. 12 overall pick Jahmyr Gibbs and nearly six points higher than No. 8 overall pick Bijan Robinson.
Had an error in that last chart. So, here it is, the new and improved Speed Score (weight-adjusted 40 times) chart for this year's running back class. Isiah Pacheco led last year's class at 118.46. pic.twitter.com/wD34mfoYqo
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) March 5, 2023
Now, why did both Pacheco and Prince fall in the draft given their lead this particular metric? Well, you can probably attribute some of that to the college offenses they were coming out of. There’s also something to be said about how the running back position has been devalued over the years.
What’s clear is that the Chiefs have taken a liking to players at the position who have a certain blend of size and speed. Last season, it was Pacheco who quickly forced the team’s hand and usurped the starting role in Kansas City. Could Prince soon follow in Pacheco’s steps and earn a spot on the 53-man roster and a key role in the running back rotation?