It is well known information that the Chiefs biggest problem this season is their lack of depth at wide receiver. After releasing Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City will now have Tyreek Hill as their WR1 with multiple athletic, yet unproven receivers behind him.
Guys like Chris Conley and Demarcus Robinson have proven they have the athleticism to succeed at the NFL level. Training camp will give them an opportunity to prove they can stick on the 53-man roster. Yet while both receivers are guaranteed a spot on the team, neither are guaranteed to put together a strong season.
The lack of depth is what makes the receiver battle the most interesting story line at training camp. Recently we looked at some under-the-radar players who have been making a splash. One of those players was WR Seantavius Jones.
Jones has been making play after player as he slowly works his way onto the 53-man roster. But Jones isn’t the only receiver making waves at Chiefs training camp.
Kansas City signed 12 undrafted free agents in 2017. One of them was former Hawaii wide receiver Marcus Kemp.
Kemp spent four years with Hawaii, appearing in 45 games. He caught 176 passes for 2,570 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Kemp has good height at 6’3″, although he needs to bulk up from his current 200 lb frame. Kemp also has solid speed, running a 4.54 40 at his Pro Day. He isn’t an athletic freak like Conley, nor did he have the college pedigree of Robinson, but he certainly has potential. He needs to work on his hands and his route running a bit, but overall Kemp has all the makings of receiver who could contribute in 2017.
He showed off that potential on Day Four of Chiefs training camp. Wesley Roesch of Chiefs Wire wrote:
Marcus Kemp looked good as well. He had a pair of drops early on, but redeemed himself during team drills with multiple catches including a deep touchdown from quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
— Brian Carrender (@brian_carrender) July 31, 2017
Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star also thought Kemp shined on Day Four. He wrote:
Keep an eye on Kemp, who also caught a deep pass over the middle from Mahomes in the second 11-on-11 period of the day. Mahomes looks comfortable throwing it up to the 6-foot-4, 210-pound undrafted rookie, who could be a practice squad candidate if he keeps coming on.
Kemp is clearly proving the doubters wrong. If he continues to play well in training camp he certainly has the look of a receiver who could break camp with the Chiefs.
Kemp is a large target at 6’4″, but he’ll need to add some weight onto his 200-pound frame to beat press coverage more consistently at the next level. His height combined with 4.54 speed in the 40-yard dash leads to frequent deep catches, though, and will provide a wide catch radius for future Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The effectiveness of Kemp’s size-speed blend was on full display during his breakout 2016 season with the Hawaii Warriors. He finished with 73 catches for 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns.
Kemp will have his work cut out for him as he looks to secure a spot on the 53-man roster. He will need to limit the drops and continue to make big plays. He has all the potential in the world, he just needs to turn that potential to production.
Marcus Kemp is looking to prove that just because you haven’t heard of him, doesn’t mean he won’t make an impact in the NFL.
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