KC Chiefs: Does John Ross have anything left in the tank?
By Josh Fann
From once being picked ahead of Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 NFL Draft to catching passes from him as a last hope to find a career in the NFL, John Ross has an outside shot at making the Kansas City Chiefs roster in 2023.
Ross was one of the most exciting receiver prospects in recent memory, mostly due to the fact he broke the record, one which he still holds, for the fastest 40-yard dash at the combine in NFL history with a time of 4.22 seconds in the 40-yard dash. That elite speed combined with plenty of athleticism was enough to get Ross drafted 9th overall to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017.
Fast forward to the present, and Ross’ NFL chances appear to be hanging on by a thread as he is on his third team in as many years after signing a futures deal with the Chiefs at the end of this past season.
Does John Ross have anything left in the tank for KC Chiefs?
Ross has had a rough go of things in the NFL so far. His biggest issue through five years in the NFL has been his injury history. The talent hasn’t been in question as Ross has shown flashes, but he’s only played in 37 of a possible 81 games. He’s suffered multiple season-ending injuries—not something that tends to get better as a player gets older. The odds aren’t in Ross’ favor.
However, there may be a little bit of hope that Ross gets things right in Kansas City and there just might be something left in the tank.
The biggest reason that Ross has going for him in his outlook of sticking with the Chiefs and being a contributor is the Chiefs training staff. Vice-president of sports medicine and performance Rick Burkholder and his staff have proven through the years that they are one of the best training teams around, and the Chiefs have consistently been one of the healthiest teams in the league. There’s optimism that the Chiefs could get Ross’ body right so he actually has a chance to show what he can do.
Again, Ross’ talent isn’t in question. In the seasons he’s been somewhat healthy, he’s had some production. He had a career-high of 506 receiving yards in 2019 and he averaged 18.1 yards/route. In his most recent stint with the Giants in 2021, he had 11 catches for 224 yards which gave him a ridiculous 20.4 YPR before he ultimately got hurt again. He clearly has the ability to stretch the field and be a dangerous weapon.
If Ross can figure it out health-wise, he may be able to crack the roster as WR5 or 6, but he’ll be up against a lot of competition to do so. Ross may also be able to boost his chances of making the team by returning punts and kicks. The speed is still there and the Chiefs will likely have a need there as bigger roles are expected for Skyy Moore and Isiah Pacheco in 2023 which would mean that they’ll no longer be doing returns. That provides a potential opportunity for Ross.
It’s a long shot, but Ross may have something to give the Chiefs in 2023. Brett Veach wouldn’t have signed him if he didn’t think there wasn’t any potential there and taking a shot on Ross and his speed to pair with Mahomes’ arm would be silly not to do. In the end, it’s all going to be dependent on Ross’ health.