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Justyn Ross Chiefs

Can Justyn Ross Find Significant Role On 2023 Chiefs?

  • Justin Melo
  • June 2, 2023
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Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Justyn Ross has been making plays throughout the early portion of OTAs. Ross is developing eye-popping chemistry with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Ross’ history indicates fans should temper expectations, but the former Clemson standout is currently generating a ton of buzz.

“Justyn is coming along,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid recently said. “He feels good, his foot feels good (and) the surgery that he had worked out well up to this point. He’s made some nice plays for us out there. I know Pat’s (Mahomes) has trust in him, so that’s great to see.”

Once considered a future first-round pick, Ross’ career has been marred by a string of unfortunate setbacks. Ross exploded onto the scene as a freshman at Clemson in 2018 by recording an astounding 46 receptions for 1,000 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Ross averaged an explosive 21.9 yards per reception. In the 2019 CFP National Championship against Alabama, Ross recorded six receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown in a blowout 44-16 victory over the Crimson Tide.

Disaster then struck when Ross missed the entire 2020 campaign due to a congenital fusion condition of his neck and spine that required a career-altering surgery. Ross was medically cleared to return in 2021 but dealt with a foot injury that limited his availability and production. It’s that same lingering foot injury coach Reid is referring to that landed Ross on season-ending IR after signing with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent last season.

Still just 23 years old, Ross has experienced a lifetime of adversity over the previous three campaigns. Ross is now healthy and showcasing flashes of the promising prospect he once was. If Ross remains available throughout training camp and the preseason, the Phenix City, Alabama native could claim a final roster spot.

The Chiefs are sorting through a new-look depth chart at wide receiver. JuJu Smith-Schuster led all Chiefs receivers (Travis Kelce excluded) in receptions (78) and receiving yards (933) last season, but Smith-Schuster departed the franchise in unrestricted free agency. Reid has a myriad of options that must separate themselves from the competition.

Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney haven’t shown enough consistency to be instant starters. Rashee Rice is a rookie that must acclimate to the professional game after playing in an SMU offense that features few pro-style concepts. The offseason addition of Richie James was an underrated one, but James should be limited to playing the slot.

Considering the Chiefs’ uncertainty at receiver, Ross can work himself into the mix by continuously building momentum. The Chiefs have an abundance of slot-only options and few dominant X-types on the boundary. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Ross is an outside receiver with high-level ball-tracking abilities. He could complement Marquez Valdes-Scantling while providing Mahomes with a contested-catch winning option.

Ross has been generating topics of discussion throughout OTAs. His current form is writing a heartwarming story given the roadblocks he’s had to overcome. If Ross has truly put his issues behind him, the former Clemson standout could make the Chiefs’ final roster.

Written By

Justin Melo