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2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Prospect: Justyn Ross, WR Clemson

Once highly regarded, what next for Justyn Ross as we approach the NFL Draft?

Justyn Ross

Our NFL rookie profile series continues with this analysis of 2022 NFL Draft Prospect Justyn Ross, WR from Clemson. We will continue to provide you with these in-depth rookie profiles and a ton of other fantasy football rookie analysis right up through the NFL Draft. Stay tuned, and stay ahead of your league.

The 2022 NFL Draft is stacked with talented wide receivers. From the top to the bottom, you will find a wide receiver who has the potential to make an impact on your dynasty roster. The group is diverse with many different types of receivers, making this a very fun batch of prospects to analyze.

Justyn Ross is the man in the middle. The NFL Draft is going to tell us how to value him in rookie drafts. Everyone knows the talent is there. He was very productive during his freshman and sophomore seasons at Clemson before his injury. Now he’s rolling down the comeback trail and he’s either going to pass the finish line and return to being a big-time prospect or slip down the hill and fall into the pit of mediocrity.

THE STATS

Courtesy of Sports Reference.

After leaving high school as a four-star prospect and ranked the seventh-best wide receiver in the 2018 recruiting class by 247Sports, Ross didn’t waste any time proving himself in the college ranks. He made his mark in the College Football Playoff, catching 12 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns against Notre Dame and Alabama. Even with Tee Higgins, Amari Rodgers, and Hunter Renfrow on the roster, Ross still managed to lead the team in receiving.

His sophomore season was also very productive considering teammate Higgins blew up for 1,167 yards and 13 touchdowns. Ross was very steady, catching three or more passes in every game that he played. He only had one 100-yard performance against South Carolina where he posted nine catches for 111 yards and one touchdown.

Ross had to take his 2020 season off due to a rare condition with his vertebrae. The spinal injury left a lot of uncertainty for his long-term player value among devy gamers. Before the injury, he was considered one of the top wide receivers in devy and a candidate to get drafted in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

The clouds opened and the sun shined on the college football landscape as Ross was cleared to make his return for the 2021 season. Unfortunately, the Clemson offense was in hibernation, and his efforts were camouflaged by horrific quarterback play. Nonetheless, he managed to reel in three catches or more in every game except for one. Considering DJ Uiagalelei completed just 55.2 percent of his pass attempts, Ross’s 2.06 yards per route ran was remarkable.

Ross is one of three wide receivers in this year’s draft class to post a 20 percent market share or higher at age 18. The others were George Pickens and David Bell. He had a 20 percent market share or higher every single year he was on the field. His early breakout age combined with consistent production currently makes him a value in rookie drafts.

THE TAPE

Ross has a very tactical skillset. He is one of the smoothest route runners in the class. His ability to set up defenders with fakes and footwork before committing to his break allows him to create separation from defenders. Ross can also stop on a dime and instantly change directions. He is very cerebral and will play cat and mouse with defensive backs by attacking the defensive back’s blind spots while running his route.

He can win off the release in multiple different ways. Ross will outmuscle defensive backs when pressed off the line of scrimmage. His suddenness makes him tough to cover off his first step. The combination of strength and quickness makes him very dangerous when he’s coming off the line.

Another attribute of his that pops on tape is his strong hands. He can pluck balls out of the air with ease. Even when contested, he is highly likely to bring the ball in and make the catch. There have been some instances where he did have some concentration drops. Overall, he is very reliable when it comes to making plays.

Speed might be his biggest red flag. Being a deep threat is just not a big part of his game. He can get downfield, but he’s not going to scare defenses with his deep speed. His size and strength become evident after the catch. He’s very hard to tackle in the open field. Ross is a tough athlete who plays with a “my-ball” mentality. Whether the ball is in the air or he’s trying to gain yards after the catch, he’s going to win with physicality.

THE MEASURABLES

At his pro day, Ross measured in at 6-foot-3 and weighed 210 pounds. He ran a 4.63-second 40-yard dash which equated to a 93.23 height-adjusted speed score. Ross also recorded a 31.5-inch vertical jump and a 9’8’’ broad jump. His test results should not be a surprise since he doesn’t with deep speed or excessive explosiveness on the field. We should not regard him as a super athlete, but he’s more than athletic enough to get the job done at the NFL level.

DYNASTY VALUE

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Courtesy of DLF’s March Rookie ADP

Ross is currently falling to the mid to late portion of the second round of rookie drafts. He is on average the 12th wide receiver off the board behind Wan’Dale Robinson and Skyy Moore. I can tell you the dynasty market is waiting to see how the NFL values him in this year’s draft before they decide to mark their stamp of approval. It sounds cliché at this point, but the draft is going to dictate his overall rookie draft value. Expect a major rise in value if he gets selected on day two. Of course, if he falls in the draft, he’s going to fall in rookie drafts. Ross is a very ambiguous asset right now on the rookie draft market.

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Courtesy of DLF’s ADP Over Time App

Just by analyzing the WR12 from March ADP from 2017 to 2021, we can gather an interesting thesis around this group of wide receivers. Most if not all of these players had a believable storyline to how they can succeed at the NFL level. They all developed their red flags the further we get into draft season. Overall, there was some sort of optimism circling all of these receivers.

When compared to the wide receivers listed, Ross has as much upside as any of them, if not more. Just like the rest, he’s a volatile asset that can go to the moon.

Ross’ optimism comes from his age-adjusted production and how he wins on the field. The air can come out of the balloon if he falls in the draft. The NFL could look at his previous spinal injury and deem it too big of a risk for the investment. We could also see the NFL fade him in the draft due to him not being considered a top-tier wide receiver since 2019. He had his comeback party this year, but Clemson’s offense did not provide enough fuel to fire to ignite Ross’ production.

Dynasty gamers will need to react to where Ross goes in the draft. He has the talent to develop into a serious dynasty asset if he lands in the right situation. His stock could go to zero if he falls in the draft and gets buried on his new team’s depth chart. The upside is infinite, but the floor is also bottomless until we learn how the NFL values him.

CONCLUSION

We get a prospect like this almost every year – a former stud who was derailed by an injury or setback. I think he’s a player we all need to consider in rookie drafts. Even if he falls in the NFL Draft, depending on cost and what’s left on the board, he might be worth buying the dip on. At one time he was considered a top-tier wide receiver prospect. When compared to third and fourth-round wide receiver prospects, the odds of him becoming a productive fantasy asset or much greater.

If he gets drafted to a good situation, then he’s going to be worth the price tag in the second round, because the talent is there, and the NFL told us they also believe in his talent.

 

2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Prospect: Justyn Ross, WR Clemson
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