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Just over 11% of mock drafts had Justyn Ross going in the first round of last week's NFL Draft, according to NFL Mock Draft Database. Yet the former Clemson wideout went undrafted because of neck injury concerns the Pro Football Docs detailed as far back as March.
Fortunately for Ross, he signed with Kansas City Chiefs on Monday. Unfortunately for Ross, he still faces a big hurdle to potentially make the roster.
Justyn Ross' Neck Injury Concerns
While it's great the 22-year-old gets to realize his dream of signing with an NFL team, his medical concerns have not changed.
In a late April article, the Pro Football Docs discussed why Ross' congenital neck fusion puts him at increased risk for serious injury from a wrong impact.
Essentially, Ross was born with two vertebrae fused together. He underwent surgery in 2020 and did not play football for 18 months.
His condition is not news to medical staffs of any of the 32 NFL teams that examined him, and it's likely why they did not pass him on the physical at the NFL Draft Combine, according to the Pro Football Docs, including former Chargers head team physician Dr. David Chao.
NFL Gameday host Jordan Schultz tweeted recently that Ross told him he's "been fully medically cleared to play, is in terrific shape and more than anything: Ready to go ball out!”
While he has surely been medically cleared for non-contact drills in mini-camp, he's unlikely to be cleared for contact at any point, Chao said.
Justyn Ross Career at Clemson
After an excellent freshman season paired with Trevor Lawrence, the current second-year Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback, Ross saw his draft stock dwindle as he evaluated the risk of continuing to play with neck issues.
Ross had a combined 1,865 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns in his first two seasons at Clemson, then 514 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns last season.
A foot stress fracture shut him down last November, but that injury is behind him for mini-camp.
Chiefs Wide Receiver Depth
Free agent signees JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling join Mecole Hardman and Josh Gordon in the Kansas City wide receiver core.
Western Michigan product Skyy Moore was also drafted with the 54th overall pick and figures to be in the mix for targets.
Chiefs' Super Bowl Odds
Kansas City currently has the third-best odds to win the Super Bowl at +950, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. They are the favorite to win the AFC West at +155.