The biggest steal of the 2022 draft may have come after the draft. The Chiefs signed Clemson receiver Justyn Ross as an undrafted free agent.
Ross was considered a first-round prospect after catching 112 passes for 1,865 yards and 17 touchdowns in his first two seasons at Clemson. However, during the spring of 2020, doctors diagnosed Ross with a congenital fusion in his spine, which put his football future in question.
Ross sat out the 2020 season after surgery and returned in 2021 to catch 46 passes for 514 yards and three touchdowns while dealing a stress fracture in his foot.
Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach said Ross is cleared for football activities.
“With Justyn, everyone kind of knows the story,” Veach said, via Charles Goldman of USA Today. “He’s certainly a really talented individual that has gone through his share of injuries at Clemson. One thing, trying to go back to last year and the Trey Smith set up, I mean, I’ve always said that our docs are on the more conservative side. We spent a lot of time, and I know our doctors at KU spent a lot of time talking to the experts that dealt with Justyn. He’s cleared.”
Ross did not test well during the predraft process, but Veach pointed to Ross’ foot injury as a reason for the 31.5-inch vertical jump and 4.63 time in the 40.
Ross will get in a chance in Kansas City, which traded Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins and lost Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson in free agency. Mecole Hardman is back; JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling arrived in free agency; and Skyy Moore joined the team as a second-round choice.
“As far as expectations, it’s like a lot of these guys,” Veach said. “Whether you’re a first-round pick or second-round pick, you’ve got to come in here and learn the playbook and you have to have the confidence in the coaching staff to execute your assignment, you have to have the confidence in Pat (Mahomes) for him to trust you to execute your assignment. If Justyn can do that, I’d say talent-wise, as long as he can stay healthy, he’ll have a shot. But it will just come down to him and how he handles the playbooks and being moved around and staying healthy — being diligent in looking ahead in regards to preventative things he can do for his body.”