Green Bay Packers: A Look at UDFA Carlo Kemp & What he Adds to Defense

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 29: Feleipe Franks #13 of the Florida Gators throws under pressure from Carlo Kemp #2 of the Michigan Wolverines in the first quarter during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 29: Feleipe Franks #13 of the Florida Gators throws under pressure from Carlo Kemp #2 of the Michigan Wolverines in the first quarter during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers are pretty well set at the edge rusher position—especially with Preston Smith hanging around. The hope is that he will rebound after a down 2020 season, and joining him is, of course, All-Pro Za’Darius Smith and ascending third-year player Rashan Gary.

As I said, they’re pretty well set but depending on how many edge rushers are kept on the roster, for sure one, but possibly two spots will be up for grabs. Battling for the roster spot(s), or at a minimum to be on the practice squad, will be Randy Ramsey, Jonathan Garvin, Tipa Galeai, and 2021 UDFA Carlo Kemp from Michigan.

Kemp was classified as an interior player at Michigan, but given his lighter frame, he will be asked to drop about 10-15 pounds and transition to edge. While this technically comes as a positional change, Kemp is well versed with moving around the defensive front.

Kemp spent five years at Michigan and saw a bulk of his snaps take place over those final three seasons. During his career, a majority of his snaps came lined up in the B-gap with 850, but he also took 285 snaps from the A-gap, another 106 lined up over the tackle, and 287 in the traditional edge role, according to PFF ($$).

In addition to his versatility, which is always a great asset to have, Kemp has a terrific first step and is a high IQ player. However, all of those qualities never truly translated into a lot of production at Michigan.

In his final three years, which included 635 pass-rush snaps over 28 games, Kemp tallied 45 pressures and seven sacks—with the 21 pressures and three sacks from 2019 both career highs. That’s fine, but it doesn’t leap off the page either. Perhaps in a more regular role, we will see that production follow.

As a run defender, Kemp was considered average to above-average by PFF’s grading system during that same span.

Athletically, Kemp didn’t test particularly well at his Pro-Day. By the RAS table, Kemp graded out poorly in both the vertical and broad jumps; his 5.07 40-yard dash time was considered poor as well, and so was his shuttle. Overall he finished with a 2.52 out of 10—which is well below average.

Length-wise, whether it be his height, arm length, wingspan, or hand size, Kemp ranks on the low end among edge rushers, per the Mock Draftable database.

As is the case for any UDFA, it will be an uphill battle for Kemp to make the final roster. However, he’s an experienced and versatile college player who is intelligent and has a high motor. He is certainly a good candidate for the practice squad given those attributes, and who knows, with a spot or two up for grabs, he could make a push with a strong summer.

Now for more on Kemp’s game and what he is bringing to the Green Bay Packers, let’s take a look at what a few pre-draft reports have to say about him–and keep in mind, these reports are evaluating him as an interior defender rather than an edge rusher.

Kyle Crabbs – The Draft Network

"“Michigan defensive lineman Carlo Kemp projects as a designated pass rush specialist at the pro level—at least early in his career while he’s still getting his body reconditioned for life on the interior at the next level. Kemp has good first-step quickness and utilized that from 0, 1, 3, and 4i alignments in the Michigan defense to generate pressure as a crash/penetration defender up front. Kemp has never really commanded a prominent feature role and has instead been in more of a complementary role up front for the Wolverines’ deep defensive front despite his high volume of starts.He’ll be well suited to stay in such a role at the NFL level as well to make the most of his fresh first step and attack the backfield. Kemp needs to stack weight onto his frame if he hopes to develop into an every-down player, but his current profile offers him a realistic chance of becoming a viable interior rusher as a specialist; especially challenging the A-gaps on subpackage fronts.”"

Lance Zierlein –

"“Defensive lineman lacking optimal traits to find a true home in most defensive alignments. He’s built like a muscular, undersized three-technique with gap-shooting prowess, but he’s actually better when taking on single blocks with his strength and sturdy base. He’s not big enough to withstand pressure from NFL size and lacks the necessary length to play as a base end. Kemp hasn’t been all that productive at Michigan but he’s a plus athlete with a good motor. Finding a fit for him, however, could be a very difficult task based on his measurables.”"

Tony Pauline- Pro Football Network

"“Positives: Underrated one-gap defensive tackle who gets the most from his ability. Incredibly explosive, quick, and plays with proper pad level. Gets leverage on opponents, has good strength for his size, and displays good change-of-direction skills. Fluid if asked to twist or stunt, nicely redirects to the ball handler, and gives effort defending the run. Works his hands throughout the action and keeps his feet moving.Negatives: Lacks bulk and size and gets handled at the point or smothered by blocks. Must beat opponents off the snap with his first step.Analysis: Kemp was not graded by scouts entering this season despite a productive three-year career for Michigan. He projects as a 3-technique/one-gap defensive tackle at the next level and has enough ability to make a depth chart as a backup.”"

Pro Football Focus ($$)

"“Kemp finally nailed down a starting role as a redshirt junior in 2019 and was an impact player for the Wolverines for much of that year. His ability to fire off the ball at pace, either straight ahead or laterally, from any interior position fit perfectly in former defensive coordinator Don Brown’s scheme. The element of surprise is pretty much the only way he won, though. When forced to play a skilled game one-on-one, Kemp often got shut down. That’s an excellent starting point for a 3-technique, but that ability alone won’t make a dent in the NFL.”"