In our Lottery Tickets series, we break down the lesser-known players who have a chance to make the Kansas City Chiefs’ Week 1 roster. Leading up to training camp, we’ll be profiling the intriguing undrafted free agents and reserve/future contract players who show the potential to stick in the NFL.
Why is it called Lottery Tickets? The players we discuss are high-upside players that haven’t significantly affected the Chiefs bottom line — but their returns could be substantial.
Kalija Lipscomb, wide receiver
6’ | 207 lbs | Vanderbilt
New Orleans, LA | 10/6/1997
40 time: 4.57
NFL Combine: 32” vertical jump, 127” broad jump, 16 bench reps
2019 Stats: 47 catches, 511 yards, 3 TD
One sentence bio: One of the most decorated wide receivers (5th in career catches, 2nd in career touchdowns) in Vanderbilt history and a Senior Bowl participant.
One sentence scouting report: Well-built receiver with solid hands but an average to below average athletic profile.
Even lacking elite speed, Lipscomb does a nice job creating separation.— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) May 5, 2020
- Attacks leverage consistently
- Always works into a CB's blindspot
- Sells vertical stem well
- Fluid hips; able to make hard breaks at near full speed
- Physical at the top of stem using arms to push by pic.twitter.com/pyRWX94e1c
How he fits with the Chiefs: While the Chiefs did not spend a draft pick on the wide receiver position, they did pony up for Lipscomb in the undrafted free agent market — giving him $110,000 guaranteed to secure his services. They clearly see something in him, and I wonder if it’s some of the qualities that Chris Conley had.
Watching the way Lipscomb plays often reminds me of Conley both in college and the NFL — he is focused on perfection in his routes and sometimes sacrifices explosion out of his break to create consistent separation at its expense. He wants to be in the right spot but is also a little rigid with stiffness in his hips. Conley and Lipscomb are far apart from an athletic profile perspective, but their approaches to the game are similar — a workmanlike, do-your-job approach. That’s a blessing and a curse, as it has been for Conley in his career so far. His athletic profile has never really shined bright in his game. Also, when plays break down, it remains to be seen how Lipscomb will operate out of structure — does he have the creativity and feel to work to space?
Lipscomb likely is never going to beat man coverage with great consistency but will be where he’s supposed to be. His mentality comes from a good place — a desire to do his job for the betterment of the team, which is something special teams coordinator Dave Toub will love. My guess is Toub sees a potential four-corps player in Lipscomb and very well could be part of the reason the Chiefs invested heavily in him.
The bottom line
Lipscomb has a chance to stick as the last wide receiver to make the roster. He’ll be competing with the likes of Gehrig Dieter and Byron Pringle for opportunities. His route to the team starts with special teams, and he appears to have the mentality to be a four-unit player.
He may never be a dynamic piece of an offense, but he could someone who can be trusted to do his job as a receiver and blocker. I’ll be fascinated to see how he looks during training camp and the preseason.