The Kansas City Chiefs are apparently masters of the art of finding late-round or undrafted players to make significant contributions to their roster these days. The Chiefs already have a runaway freight train this offseason with every update that comes in about young wide receiver Justyn Ross.
Ross, a former star receiver at Clemson, was at one point projected to be the next first-round pick to come from Dabo Swinney’s program at the receiver position, but he ultimately had health issues that resulted in him missing the 2020 season, making a comeback in 2021, and going undrafted in 2022. Ross spent 2022 learning the Chiefs’ offense and simply biding his time, getting healthy, and now making a ton of noise in training camp.
The same appears to be true for rookie Deneric Prince, an undrafted free agent for the Chiefs this year who has been working consistently with the top offense as Isiah Pacheco recovers from injury.
When you see an undrafted rookie catching passes from Patrick Mahomes this early in training camp, you had better take notice. I don’t think Deneric Prince is a threat to Isiah Pacheco’s job this year with how good Pacheco was as a rookie (7th-round pick) last season, but there’s a chance he could push former first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire off the roster completely.
Edwards-Helaire was a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of LSU, part of that historic offense led by Joe Burrow in the 2019 season. He seemed like a perfect fit for the Chiefs at the time given Kareem Hunt’s release and the team’s need for a three-down back. Unfortunately, things haven’t really worked out great for Edwards-Helaire despite maybe having perfect circumstances around him.
He has played just 10 games in each of the last two seasons. His usage (88 touches) was at a career-low last season as the Chiefs got significant contributions from not only Pacheco, but arguably a career year out of Jerick McKinnon as well.
Now, here comes a rookie back under team control and very cost-effective who is getting run with the first-team offense. And Deneric Prince should have been drafted given his insane athletic and physical makeup.
You’re telling me the rest of the NFL let this guy get to the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent? You’ve got to be kidding me.
This appears to be much more than just a Summer fling. The Chiefs really have something on their hands here and they know it. The same thing happened last year with Isiah Pacheco and people were saying not to be too quick to rush to judgments. Then the guy went out and had a phenomenal rookie season for KC.
I’m not saying Deneric Prince will be the team’s RB1, but there’s more here than just a good UDFA story. This guy looks legit, and the Chiefs know it.