Chiefs' RB Room Ranked 18th in NFL, 'Not Much is Known' About Depth

Citing some uncertainty regarding the No. 3 job, PFF isn't too high on the Chiefs' running back room for this season.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco (10) beats a tackle.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco (10) beats a tackle. / Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and
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Last season, the Kansas City Chiefs' offense ranked 25th in rush attempts and 19th in rushing yards. It also finished tied for eighth in average yards per carry but also tied for the third-lowest touchdown total on the ground. All in all, the trio of Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire was mostly respectable but lacked true high-end production.

As the offseason continues, McKinnon is no longer in the picture but Edwards-Helaire has been re-signed on a new one-year deal. Pacheco, now entering his third season, remains the starter. Where does that leave Kansas City's halfback room? According to one outlet, below the middle line.

In a recent ranking of all 32 running back groups entering 2024, Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus has the back-to-back champs occupying the No. 18 spot. Sikkema tips his cap to Pacheco for being a quality option, but he also points to some uncertainty about the depth beyond Edwards-Helaire.

"Isiah Pacheco is the king of consistency, earning rushing grades of 74.2 and 80.2 in the past two seasons," Sikkema wrote. "He also recorded a yards per carry average above 4.5 in each of the past two seasons with 40 explosive runs, 20 in both years. Kansas City still has Clyde Edwards-Helaire behind him, but not much is known after that."

As a sophomore, Pacheco continued leading the rotation. Seeing his snap count jump from 351 to 568, the former seventh-round pick averaged 4.6 yards per carry and amassed 935 yards and seven touchdowns. He also hauled in 44 passes for 244 yards and another two scores. Pacheco established himself as a No. 1 back in 2023, and that should continue into 2024.

The Edwards-Helaire situation is murkier. On one hand, the former first-round pick is a seasoned veteran in the offense and put up career-high marks in games played (15) and average yards per target (8.5) last year. With that said, he also saw his yards per carry dip all the way down to 3.2. Even at 25 years old, he simply isn't a dynamic rushing threat. That renders him a quality depth piece, albeit not an ideal second running back.

Making things even more complicated is the lack of a standout RB3. Back in April, general manager Brett Veach previewed the competition.

“Keaontay Ingram is a guy we like too, we got him late last year and it’s hard when guys come in into the middle of the season," Veach said. "We added him to our practice squad late, but I think we were a fan of his when he was at USC. I think that’s going to be one of those positions just like the left tackle, starting position, just like the tail end positions at corner, that running back position will be a battle. Usually, it comes down to special teams and pass protector as a No. 3 here, so I think all these guys have traits we like and now it’s just a matter of a couple of those guys putting together a solid training camp.

"That’s from the mental side of things and from a special teams side of things. I do think, though, we have some guys that all have ability and now it’s just a matter of those guys going out there and earning a position. From a talent perspective, as you mentioned with (Emani) Bailey and (Carson) Steele we brought in and then last year, (Deneric) Prince and Keaontay Ingram, all of those guys have talent and ability to play in this league. Now, it’s just a matter of who can put together a solid training camp and earn the position.”

This development should find new life when camp begins in a month. Until then, the Chiefs know what they have in two of their top three backs and then have a jumbled mess of candidates for that tertiary position.

That's by design, though, as it's exactly how Veach wants it to be despite one outlet (rightfully) not buying in just yet.

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Jordan Foote


Jordan Foote is the deputy editor of Arrowhead Report on, covering the Kansas City Chiefs. He also hosts the One Royal Way podcast on Kansas City Sports Network. Jordan is a Baker University alumnus, earning his degree in Mass Media. Follow him on X @footenoted.