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Could Deneric Prince be the Chiefs 1,000 yard from scrimmage back in 2023?

The Chiefs have a New Fresh Prince… He’s Deneric not Generic

(Photo by: Mike Simons/Tulsa World)


When training camp began 12 days ago, the Chiefs expected a trio of running backs to compete for playing time. After those 12 days, a fourth contender has emerged: Deneric Prince, who was signed by the Chiefs after going undrafted in this April’s draft. 

Although the majority of those gains have come through Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon taking the off season to heal, Prince performance this off-season has left Coach Andy Reid and reigning MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes wanting to see more of the undrafted running back from Tulsa. You can see he’s got very good speed, good running skills and he’s got that forward lean. He’s got good instincts. It’s going to be fun to see him these three preseason games, see if he plays at a hard level.

The Manvel, TX native and former Tulsa Golden Hurricane star is becoming a reliable part of the running back rotation and a key special teams member since joining the team as a college free agent. It’s expected that Prince and second year man Isiah Pacheco will post near-equal performances in the running game in 2023. However I think there are reasons to believe that with Prince’s skill set along with Pacheco and McKinnon, he could be the Chiefs 1,000 yard from scrimmage back in 2023. 

Why Prince can do it?

At 6-foot-0, 216 pounds, Prince boasts a no-frills, physical, north-south style that sets him apart from the others along with his 4.41 speed to go with it. A lot of guys can’t do that. He can make one cut and get up field, as opposed to rounding a cut off.

With a full off season of OTAs and minicamp, Prince also displayed the workhorse reputation that helped define his career at Tulsa. Also remember, Pacheco had 960 total yards from scrimmage last season in 351 snaps for the Chiefs. If Prince had the same amount of snaps of Pacheco in 2023, I can see him easily getting over that mark because of one trait that Prince shows on tape better than Pacheco, Prince shows better quality vision between the tackles with good burst and commitment upfield than Pacheco. Pacheco would probably run the guy over, Prince will juke the guy out of his socks like Jamaal Charles. When I see Prince, I see a guy that has size of Darrel Williams with the speed of Jamaal Charles or like another former NFL running back with that same skill set in Alfred Morris.

What will keep Prince from that accomplishment?

There could be several concerns with Prince in regard to the passing game. While not utilized in a major way through the air at Tulsa, Prince leaves a lot to be desired as a receiver. Prince’s hands are a bit inconsistent and he struggles to catch the ball away from his frame. He allows passes into his chest and doesn’t secure the ball with confidence. Prince should work with more consistent pad level as sometimes he gets caught too upright running between the tackles. Prince doesn’t run with great power. He doesn’t provide pop at the point of contact and doesn’t absorb it well. Prince’s ball security needs improvement but with Matt Nagy back as offensive coordinator, that problem will be fixed instantly.

Final thoughts:

Prince is one of the more interesting running backs in the 2023 class with his size and speed. He has the makings of a dynamic back who is electric with the ball in space with home-run potential. The Chiefs are looking to include Prince as a guy that will do the dirty work, similar to the way Darrel Williams did for us in 2021.

If he continues to build off the impressive ending he had to his collegiate career running the football, then once again you have to give credit to Chiefs GM Brett Veach for strengthen the running back room significantly and provide a young, impressive one-two punch between Prince and Pacheco.

Prediction stats: In my May article, I predicted Prince to have 500+ total yards and 4 TDs but with the news of his progression within the offense, I see him having 173 carries, 956 yards rushing, 7 rushing TDs, 10 catches for 97 yards receiving giving him 1,053 total yards for 7 TDs. That’s impressive for a player undrafted in his first season in an Andy Reid scheme. Don’t be surprised if Prince actually becomes a 1,000 yard rusher despite never accomplishing that feat in college.

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