It might sound odd for so much buzz to be in the air about a player who was passed over more than 250 times over seven rounds by all 32 teams, but that’s somehow the place that former Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross has found himself. Thats’ what happens when a player looks the part and has even played the part in the past.
Heading into the 2022 NFL Draft, Ross was considered a worthy longshot upon which teams were expected to take a chance. After all, the production had been proven already in some of the single biggest games a college prospect can play in. Yet over the course of three days, Ross went undrafted, to the surprise of nearly everyone outside the league.
In the moments after the draft, however, fans wondered where Ross might end up. It turns out the Kansas City Chiefs reached out with an opportunity he couldn’t refuse.
Justyn Ross has landed in an ideal situation with the Kansas City Chiefs after going undrafted over the weekend.
There are real concerns about Ross, to be sure, which is why he slipped as far as he did and they are all medically related. When it comes to the potential health issues of a player, many teams will take a guy off of their board entirely. It’s the reason why former Tennessee Volunteers lineman Trey Smith slipped to the Chiefs in the sixth round after a history of blood clots. It was never about talent or character, and the same can be said of Ross.
It was a right ACL tear for Ross in high school. That was followed by a series of stingers and a bulging disc in his neck that led to surgery to correct congenital neck fusion in 2020—when multiple vertebrae have somehow become fused together. The stress fracture in his foot robbed him of more games in 2021.
All of this is so unfortunate because, as a freshman for Clemson in a year in which they’d win the National Championship, Ross was an offensive hero. He racked up 1,000 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns on only 46 catches and became an instant sensation. He followed that up with 66 catches for 865 yards and another 8 touchdowns for the Tigers in 2019. And then came the injuries that halted that body of work. Just like that, his future went from first-round pick to undrafted free agent.
Now the Chiefs are hoping they can unearth a hidden gem in the process. It’s amazing that no team took the chance, even in the seventh round, on Ross, but the Chiefs have been awarded the chance to see what lay in front of him at the pro level. Can Ross put the injury concerns behind him? Can Ross provide anything meaningful going forward? Is this another situation of a Corey Coleman or a Josh Gordon?
Given the cost is next to nothing for the franchise and knowing the potential that Ross once had, it’s absolutely worth a look. The Chiefs could use further investment for the long-term at wide receiver, and no offense in the league is going to get more from a player like Ross than one run by Andy Reid.