Monday, June 27, 2022

Analysts are making bold predictions about the Chiefs’ rookie WRs

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After trading Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, the Kansas City Chiefs refilled the receiving room by signing JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. But the Chiefs had yet to add at least one young playmaker for a rookie deal to ensure the offense had a long-term plan in the wideout that wouldn’t break the bank.

While the Chiefs added Western Michigan wide receiver Skyy Moore to their roster with a 2022 second-round pick, there’s another pass catcher they’ve added via the undrafted rookie pool that has a ton of perks, though he was not confiscated.

Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross was a playmaker in his first two seasons with the Tigers. In the 2018 and 2019 seasons, he amassed 1,865 receiving yards on 112 catches — 16.6 yards per catch — and 17 touchdowns, according to Sports Reference.

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But that production ground to a halt due to a series of injuries.

Ross would be diagnosed with a congenital fusion in his spine in the spring of 2020, which doctors told him he would never play football again, according to ESPN’s Adam Teicher. The Clemson pass catcher would undergo surgery this year and sit out the 2020 season.

During the 2021 season, which was his senior year of college football, Ross returned to football, catching 46 passes for 514 yards and 3 touchdowns. But a stress fracture in his foot hampered his game throughout the season.

With injuries plaguing him for the back end of his time at Clemson, Ross’ draft stock plummeted in 2022. Instead of being one of the top prospects in the draft, he wasn’t drafted. The talent is there, but here’s a list of injury worries that have kept every NFL team from using a draft pick against Ross.

However, the injuries weren’t enough to keep Ross out of the NFL entirely, as evidenced by Kansas City signing him. While Ross still has a long way to go before he makes his mark in the NFL, an ESPN analyst has a bold prediction for the Clemson product that Chiefs fans want to hear.

ESPN fantasy football analyst Mike Clay’s “best brave prediction” for this year’s NFL rookie class is that Ross will be in Kansas City’s 53-man roster.

“Prior to his 2020 neck/spine surgery, Ross recorded 46-1,000-9 and 66-865-8 receive lines and was one of the top recipients in the nation,” Clay wrote on May 13. “Actually, his career 3.0 yards per route run were the best in this year’s rookie class. Ross is now on an elite offense but also needs help with wideout. The Clemson product has a real chance to make the cut.”

With plenty of talented veterans in the Kansas City wide receiver room set to compete for a roster spot this summer, coupled with Moore — who is rank-bound heading into the 2022 regular season — the team will be an uphill battle for Ross. However, if he remains healthy and consistently demonstrates his talent, there is a strong possibility that Ross will be included in the Chiefs’ 53-man roster next season.

Along with Clay’s bold prediction, ESPN draft analyst Matt Miller predicted that Moore will lead the Chiefs in yards receiving in his rookie season.

“Tight end Travis Kelce is still the No. 1 threat and will lead the team in catches and touchdowns, but Moore will become a prime target for quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the under passing game and vertical stretch plays once cover breaks,” Miller wrote.

With Kelce turning 33 this fall and Hill out of the picture, Moore could be the next man to be Mahomes’ target in the passing game. Kansas City’s tendency to heavily favor the passing game, coupled with Moore’s ability to consistently create separations and be reliable underneath, means the rookie receiver could hit the ground running in Kansas City.

Ultimately, time will tell how these bold predictions play out for the Chiefs’ rookie passers.

Ultimately, time will tell how these bold predictions play out for the Chiefs’ rookie passers.

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