WR Justyn Ross, Clemson*

6’4” – 210 lbs.

Background:

Five-star recruit who had an impressive freshman season of 46-1,000-9 (21.7), which actually ended up being his most productive year. Went for 66-865-8 (13.1) as a sophomore, then redshirted his junior season after undergoing a neck/spine surgery (congenital fusion). Came back to post 47-524-3 (11.1) over ten games this past year, missing time with a couple of other injuries before declaring.

Positives:

Was productive in each season he played. Very big target who has experience lining up both in the slot and split out wide to the outside. Simple, clean releases at the line against press coverage. Ran a lot of routes down the field and shows the ability to get defenders into his hip pocket, with solid top-end speed. Able to change speeds and keep defenders off-guard. Sinks his hips into the route stem and doesn’t have to gear down much. Does a pretty good job of selling fakes on double-moves. Uses a swim move to slip past defenders sitting in off-coverage. Catch radius is very forgiving. Tracks the ball pretty well over his shoulder and makes good adjustments to off-target passes. Nice awareness and body control near the sidelines. Able to come down with contested catches in coverage. Made his name with circus grabs in the national title game against Alabama. Pretty good after the catch in terms of both agility and competitiveness, and was fed the ball on screens and underneath throws at times.

Negatives:

Production/yards per catch dipped every year after his breakout freshman campaign. Route tree was pretty simple in the short and intermediate range. Rounds off some of his routes at the stem. Takes a lot of plays off when the ball isn’t coming his way, but that looks like it might have been coached. Was a productive downfield receiver as a freshman but also came down with a lot of catches in coverage, instead of getting separation downfield. Could do a better job of using his size to box out defenders on both short routes and downfield. Doesn’t always look like he’s giving full effort as a blocker, and doesn’t always engage with appropriate technique. Medical evaluation is going to play a huge role in determining his overall draft position.

Summary:

A big target for quarterbacks, he has shown the ability to make plays down the field, combining solid speed and flexibility, commitment to selling fakes on double-moves, and the ability to adjust to throws away from his frame. Those traits could make him a starter, although he will need to continue diversifying his route tree and show more commitment in the blocking game. If his medicals check out, he could go as early as the second day, but his injury history may scare teams off.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: