The Kansas City Chiefs were forced to shift the way they do things offensively during the 2021 season due to opposing defenses changing the way they defend quarterback Patrick Mahomes and company.
With defenses choosing to consistently put two safeties deep instead of just one, the deep ball was rarely available for Mahomes to connect with his receivers on, which forced him to complete much shorter passes regularly. That led to a career-low 7.6 yards per pass attempt for Mahomes during the 2021 season, according to Pro Football Reference.
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While Kansas City’s offenses will continue to try to gash defenses with big plays through the air, the Chiefs are steadily becoming less resistant to gaining yards in small chunks. That’s why bringing in a talented slot receiver and/or a big-bodied wideout to catch passes from Mahomes this offseason would be helpful for Mahomes’ continued development.
That’s why one NFL analyst thinks Kansas City should select a tall, fluid route-runner out of Clemson with the 30th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Ross ‘Dream Draft Target’ for Chiefs
Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay named each NFL team’s dream draft target for the 2022 draft and named Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross as Kansas City’s.
“At 6’4″, 205 pounds, Ross would be the ideal possession receiver to line up with the smaller, shiftier Hill,” Kay wrote on February 24. “He has the size, athleticism and route-running skills to shine for the Chiefs, especially with their veteran playmakers diverting defensive attention.”
The biggest concern with Ross, which Kay also mentions, is his injury history. Ross had a congenital fusion in his spine in March of 2020 that needed surgery, which, at that point, made it unknown if he’d ever play football again, according to Fan Nation’s Brad Senkiw. He missed the entire 2020 season because of the spine injury.
This past season, Ross suffered a fracture in his foot which he attempted to play through but re-injured. He was then forced to undergo surgery in November which sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
Ross finished the 2021 season with 46 receptions for 514 yards and three touchdowns, which were all the lowest totals he’s had in a single season during his time at Clemson. His lack of production during his final college season paired with his injury history has caused his draft stock to be low enough to the point where he could be available for the Chiefs in the backend of the first round.
What Twitter Says About Ross
Twitter users have shared their evaluations of Ross during the pre-draft process.
“I wonder where Justyn Ross will land in this draft. He is a talented receiver prospect with disrespectful leaping ability. Injuries have slowed down his career but he’s fought back. I love that! Where does everyone have him?” Damian Parson of the Draft Network wrote.
“There isn’t much buzz around Clemson WR Justyn Ross but I still think he could be a WR1 at the NFL level. I’m not particularly concerned about his medicals and he brings to the table size, physicality, underrated YAC ability and great route running. He’s my 6th ranked WR,” Luca Sartirana of Stampede Blue wrote.
“George Pickens and Justyn Ross are going far too under the radar when talking 2022 NFL Draft. If not injured over the past two seasons, both would certainly be in the WR1/top 20 type conversation,” Matt Lane of KC Sports Network wrote.