Patrick Mahomes discusses impressions of undrafted Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross heading into OTAs for the 2023 season.
On Monday, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes fielded questions as part of the start of phase one of the Chiefs’ Organized Team Activities (OTAs). As part of phase one, Mahomes is hosting Chiefs’ receivers for throwing sessions to ensure the receivers and their QB are on the same page. One receiver, in particular, made the two-time league MVP smile ear to ear, and that was an undrafted wide receiver out of Clemson from 2022: Justyn Ross.
Ross was one of the most anticipated offseason acquisitions of the Chiefs in 2022 after the Kansas City Chiefs signed the undrafted rookie to a contract in hopes Ross would show the production and star power directed early in his college career before a spinal surgery kept them out for their junior season. In their senior season, Ross led Clemson in receptions and yards before sitting out the last three games due to a foot injury. Due to the injury concerns, Ross went undrafted, and the Chiefs were able to sign Ross to a contract, but many believe Brett Veach made a calculated decision on the signing.
Heading into the 2023 season, the Kansas City Chiefs receiving corps has a lot of question marks. However, with JuJu Smith-Schuster leaving the Chiefs for the New England Patriots and Mecole Hardman joining the New York Jets, there is much room for Justyn Ross to stake his claim. At 6-4, 210 pounds, Ross could slide in and take the spot of the sure-handed Smith-Schuster. Ross made a lot of noise in the offseason in a very crowded receiving room, but the hype train took a halting stop after the Chiefs placed Ross on the injured reserve list and he had surgery on his previously injured foot.
Now that OTAs are upon us, the hype train is back with full steam. Fans should be excited about Ross stepping onto the active roster and giving the Chiefs a big wide receiver (not named Travis Kelce) who can make the contested catches over the middle. This will allow the speedsters of Skyye Moore and Kadarius Toney to do what they do best: to take advantage of their speed to increase their production. Ross also showed the instincts to make the big play down the middle and the uncanny ability to make the tough catches on the boundaries.
Mahomes already sounds like he’s excited to see what Ross can do on the field with him. During his media session with reporters on Monday, he had plenty of praise for Ross’ work ethic and potential:
"“Yeah, I mean, the talent is through the roof,” Mahomes said of Ross. I think anybody can see that and I think he’s gotten better and better even though he wasn’t active all year long, he was in the building and he was able to see the guys, and how we do things and listening and being in some of the meetings and stuff like that. And so I’m excited for him to get out there and be able to get the reps and practice and, and get the, the little fine details that we like to do in this offense."
When it is all said and done, Ross will be the steal of the class of 2022, and the Chiefs will provide the best quarterback in the league with another weapon he can use to lead his team to another league championship.
It is not out of the question that Ross will be a crucial weapon in the Kansas City Chiefs offense if he continues to show the kind of play-making ability demonstrated in the OTAs last offseason and the private throwing sessions with Patrick Mahomes. Ross was an undrafted rookie and came to the team with little risk to the Chiefs. Still, if he can put his injury concerns behind him, he will significantly contribute to the most lethal passing attack in the NFL.
What do you think? Is Justyn Ross just going to be another preseason all-star or will he be a 2023 All-Pro? Let us know in the comments below!