In the bigger scheme of things, it’s going to be a minor transaction for the Kansas City Chiefs, one that will certainly be overlooked on the national level, when the team brings back Marcus Kemp from the COVID/reserve list. But for the franchise itself, the time is coming for an interesting decision between Kemp and fellow wide receiver Daurice Fountain for a spot on the active roster.
At present, the team has Fountain in place among the team’s 53-man roster due to the placement of Kemp on the reserve list. Fountain was promoted from the team’s practice squad, and it might be safe to assume that everyone will go back to their starting positions once again when Kemp is healthy and ready to play. However, there’s a real chance here for an upside play for the Chiefs if they want to take it.
There’s no way of knowing if Daurice Fountain will ever turn into a reliable pass catcher for the Chiefs without giving him the reps. However, to give him any reps means to keep Kemp from getting his old job back simply because he got sick.
The KC Chiefs have a decision to make between Marcus Kemp and Daurice Fountain.
This preseason, Fountain went from an unknown extra hoping to get noticed to a guy who forced his way onto the active roster. When he first came to K.C., he was nothing more than a veteran invited for a tryout with rookies during minicamp. From there he landed a deal and went on to become a beast in the preseason—so much so that fans wondered if he could possibly be a miraculous answer to replace Sammy Watkins after attempts to sign away a big name in free agency failed
Fountain led the Chiefs in receiving yards this preseason with 10 catches for 118 yards in three games, including some tough catches that kept fans talking after the game was over. If you look back, he has a penchant for being able to come down with the tough, even contested, catch. Here’s a clip from when he was at Northern Iowa.
From there, Fountain caught on with the Indianapolis Colts and showed enough to stick around for a couple of years on the periphery.
This preseason, Chiefs Kingdom was fortunate enough to see this:
Let’s be honest: every NFL prospect can come up with a clip of a random big catch or even three, so just finding these clips shouldn’t make the Chiefs’ decision. Marcus Kemp can claim the same big catches and he’s got the experience and long-term trust of the coaching staff as well.
But here’s the main idea: Marcus Kemp’s ceiling is known at this point in Kansas City. He’s been with the team since 2017, which means he’s five years into this offense, and the team has five years of evidence of what he can (and cannot do). Given this knowledge, the Chiefs have tasked him with special teams duty with little-to-no reps on offense. That’s it. That’s the ceiling.
While it’s vital for the Chiefs to have someone they can count on in those special teams roles, it would also be nice if Kemp were a developmental presence on offense. In a best-case scenario, a wideout would be able to play well in coverage units but also provide some potential upside to climb into a greater offensive role. Fountain could be that sort of player. It’s also possible that Fountain might never work out as hoped.
Would it be worth it for the Chiefs to take the chance on Fountain in the role going forward? Is that unfair to Kemp? There’s a risk but also a possible reward at work to make the shift, but maybe the Chiefs will want to keep things as they were knowing how well special teams were playing.