Of all the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2022 undrafted free agents to agree to terms with the club, former Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross has drawn the most attention.
As described by head coach Andy Reid, the 22-year-old was “knocking the rust off” during the team’s recent three-day rookie minicamp after he missed Clemson’s 2020 season due to spinal surgery and his final college go in 2021 ended early due to a foot injury.
Recently, Ross’ college coach, Dabo Swinney, spoke to reporters about what he expected for Ross on NFL Draft weekend.
“I knew he could be anywhere from fourth round to free agent,” Swinney told reporters, according to ClemsonSports.com’s Matt Connolly. “I didn’t know that only four teams actually cleared him medically. That’s a pretty small group... He’s super excited about the opportunity that he has. If he stays healthy, he belongs and the rest will take care of itself.”
Swinney may have unintentionally broke a little news — the fact that only four teams in the NFL were comfortable enough for Ross to take the field. Still, the longtime Clemson coach is high on Ross, one of the key players in the 2018 national title win over Alabama.
“I mean he’s Justyn Ross,” Swinney added. “There’s no questions about Justyn Ross when it comes to playing football. But there’s obvious questions when it comes to, ‘OK, where is he health wise?’ He broke his foot. Obviously he missed all that time with surgical procedures in his neck and back area. He’ll do just fine. If the good lord keeps him healthy, football will come easy for him.”
The hope for the Chiefs echoes Swinney’s notion — that as Ross gets healthy, he may be able to turn back the clock to his freshman and sophomore seasons, when he combined for 112 catches for 1,865 yards and 17 touchdowns in 28 games.
At 6 feet 4 and 205 pounds, Ross certainly has the measurables. But he will need to show out in the offseason program and training camp, with a projected two receiver spots available on the Chiefs’ 53-man roster. Considering only four teams cleared him medically, it may be wise to temper expectations.
In Swinney’s mind, there is no doubt about Ross’ ceiling. He said that if the wideout stays healthy, he could be “the greatest free agent ever.”