Justyn Ross Spotlight

Out of all the teams in the NFL, I think the Chiefs had one of the best drafts. They added a lot of fantastic talent on the defensive side of the ball. Adding Trent McDuffie, George Karlaftis, Bryan Cook and Leo Chenal should help solidify their defense for years to come. I was also very pleased with the players they got to help Patrick Mahomes. In the second round, the Chiefs had one of the best value picks. That player being none other than the star from Western Michigan, Skyy Moore. Although Moore is an incredible talent, that is not the only star receiver they added. The other player is Justyn Ross out of Clemson University. Ross was signed as an UDFA following the NFL Draft.  In this article, I am going to discuss why Ross went undrafted and how he will impact the Chiefs going forward.


Injury History

Prior to the 2020 season, Ross was arguably one of the best wide receivers in the country. Since he was one of the best in the country, some people had him graded as a 1st rounder. But that all changed after a single practice in March of 2020. According to an article on ESPN, Ross was running a slant route and was blindsided by one of Clemson’s linebackers. At first, Ross didn’t think anything of the injury and thought his neck was just stinging after the hit. But, as we now know, it turned out to be much more than that. Apparently, Ross was born with Klippel-Feil syndrome. This is essentially a bone disorder that is distinguished by a fusion of many bones in the neck. This was heartbreaking for Ross to hear, because he was told he may never step foot on a football field ever again. Although this is what Ross heard, he refused for that to turn into a reality.

Although Ross was seen as a top 20 prospect in the nation, his draft stock started to plummet. This was very unfortunate for Ross because something he cannot control is holding him back from his ultimate goal. I mentioned in my scouting report on Ross, I could see him going in the 3rd – 4th round due to his injury. I would have never expected him to go undrafted.

Even though he went undrafted, and not many undrafted guys get a fair shot in the NFL, I think he deserves one. Personally, I think as long as he is able to stay healthy, he will make a solid impact on the Chiefs.


Change of Quarterback

Another big reason why Ross’ draft stock fell was due to the change in starting quarterback’s efficiency at Clemson. In my scouting report on Ross, I mentioned, D.J. Uiagalelei was a big reason why Ross was not very effective. During the 2021 season, D.J. had a completion percentage of 55.6%. Compared to many previous starting QBs at Clemson, that is very sub-par. Throughout his career at Clemson, Ross was one of the best deep threat receivers in the nation. Unfortunately, D.J. was not able to capitalize on this and get Ross the ball.

With Ross having a home in Kansas City, I don’t think this will ever become a factor. At least as long as Mahomes is in town. Personally, if Ross is able to make it on the field with Mahomes, they could be a deadly duo.


What Ross Will Bring to the Table

WR Justyn Ross of the KC Chiefs

Justyn Ross (8) practicing at Chiefs rookie camp.

Now I am going to focus on the positive things that Ross brings to the table. The biggest reason why I think Ross is a good addition to the Chiefs is because of his playmaking ability. As I mentioned in my report on Ross, he can make a play out of nothing. When he sees any green grass in front of him, he makes sure to take advantage while he has it. Not only is he incredible in open space, he has incredible field awareness to get open. His ability to make sideline catches is almost second to none and will likely carry over to the NFL. He has fantastic body control and is able to manipulate his body to make a clutch catch.

Finally, the last thing he brings to the table is his ability to make big plays down the field. As I briefly mentioned earlier, he was arguably one of the best deep threat receivers in college. This will definitely make Mahomes very happy especially after losing Tyreek Hill. Ross stands at 6’4” and 205 lbs. This allows him to go up over any sized corner and make a play on the ball.

Final Thoughts on Justyn Ross

As I have mentioned throughout this article, Ross has had a lot of obstacles to overcome. He was told in his adult life that he was born with a rare bone disorder. Not only that, this bone disorder could cause him to never step on a football field again, possibly taking away his dream of playing in the NFL. This, of course, is something most players dream about from a young age. We all remember playing with our friends and emulating our favorite players.

Ross did whatever it took to make that a myth and look at what he has done. He came back and played his senior year and had a decent season considering many circumstances. Finally, here he is now, living the dream he has had since he was young. That dream of course being a wide receiver in the National Football League.

Overall, I hope Ross is given a fair chance in the NFL given he is medically clear. According to Clemson’s Head Coach Dabo Swinney only four teams cleared him at the Combine. I don’t want to see his talents go to waste because he is such a great player. But Chiefs fans, regardless of how much he plays, you got a workhorse who will never give up. One who we are all rooting for in a big way, and may just become one of the biggest UDFA signings in recent history.

Justyn Ross Analyst-Matthew Lewis