Kansas City Chiefs WR Justyn Ross has been a subject of fascination in the Chiefs Kingdom since he signed with the team as an undrafted free agent a season ago.
The former Clemson star has seen his college and professional career marred by injury, missing the entire 2022 NFL season on injured reserve after he had surgery to further correct a foot injury that limited him as a senior with the Tigers. The former four-star recruit out of Central High School in Phenix City, Alabama burst onto the college football scene in 2018 with a dominant rookie campaign, but he missed the entire 2020 season after undergoing a congenital fusion on his spine.
Now healthy at Chiefs’ OTAs, the coaching staff is getting its first true glimpse of what Ross could do within the offense. There have been a few highlight reel moments, but at this point of the offseason with padless practices and no contact, they don’t mean all that much.
Speaking to media members for the first time this offseason, new Chiefs WRs coach Connor Embree gave a progress report on Ross. He’s keen on getting the opportunity to see what the second-year wideout can do on the football field later this summer.
“Again, Justyn (Ross) is another one,” Embree began. “He worked hard last year. He was in every meeting and all the stuff that everyone else was at. So, kind of got a year under his belt also, just without the playing aspect of it. He’s been great. And yeah, I’m excited for him — to see him out on the field and see what he can do. He’s another kind of different body. We don’t have someone like him. So he’s good.”
Providing a different body type and skill set certainly bodes well for his chances of making the final roster, but it’ll take more than that to make the team.
Even with the team’s own star quarterback pumping up the second-year receiver on a regular basis, Embree says there is no preferential treatment here. Ross still has a lot to go out to prove to the coaches in order to make the 53-man roster in 2023.
“I think it’s just like everyone else in the room,” Embree said. “It’s whatever you want it to be. It’s up to them. We give them the tools. We teach everybody the same way. Like I said, everyone is in the same meetings, so it’s really up to him. He’s got the talent. He’s obviously in the NFL for a reason. It’s just like everyone else in the room. They’ve got to go earn it.”