The running backs of the 2022 draft class made some waves last season, but we’re taking a look at who has the most potential for a breakout season in 2023. Some are moving up on the depth chart after proving their worth, while others are returning from injury. Who is going to make the biggest impact on the ground this year? Here’s our list:
Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs
Pacheco far outplayed his seventh-round selection as a member of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl-winning squad last season. He led the Chiefs in rushing yards, but he hasn’t even come close to reaching his potential yet, which is why I’ll still qualify him for a breakout season in 2023. In the first nine weeks of the season, he rushed for 279 yards. In the last eight weeks of the season, he rushed for 551.
He was still splitting snaps with Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and while both will still be in the rotation this season, Pacheco is listed first on the depth chart. Given his second-half numbers from last year, he could have a 1,000-yard season in 2023. He added another 197 rushing yards over three playoff games, as well.
Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs no longer have Tom Brady at the helm, so we can expect them to use the run game plenty this season. White had the second-most rushing yards last season for the Bucs behind Leonard Fournette last season, amassing 481 yards on the ground and another 290 in the air. He added three touchdowns.
Fournette entered free agency and will not be returning to Tampa this year, giving White the RB1 spot. The Bucs employed a pass-heavy offense last season with Brady under center, but with Baker Mayfield starting this season, we can expect the Bucs to lean more heavily on the run game. White is in the perfect position to have a massive breakout season.
Breece Hall, New York Jets
Hall sort of already had his breakout year but was stymied halfway through by a season-ending injury. Despite playing in just seven games last season, he ended with the most rushing yards on the team (463). The Jets may be less reliant on the ground game with Aaron Rodgers now under center, but Hall could become a serious weapon for the Jets. If he can stay healthy this year, Hall will easily surpass 1,000 rushing yards.