There are hundreds of stories being told during the planning and anticipation of the 2017 NFL Draft. Today we will be looking at a scouting report for redshirt junior wideout John Ross III, Washington Huskies.
WR-John Ross III, Washington 5’11” 190 lbs.
This Huskie weapon really broke out in 2016 with 81 receptions for 1150 yards and 17 touchdowns after missing his entire 2015 season due to multiple knee injuries. How will he transition to the next level and will he be a first round NFL and/or fantasy rookie draft selection?
Because I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, let’s break down what I saw in the five games I reviewed of the redshirt junior playmaker: 2016 contests versus Alabama, USC, California, Oregon, and Arizona State. Most of these game videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. These are my thoughts:
Cons: His multiple knee injuries in 2015 is the first hurdle to overcome. Ross tore his left ACL and had a meniscus tear on his right knee in two separate practices before the season began. The former Washington wideout credits this 2015 rehab time with allowing him a period to dedicate himself to get stronger and work on the weaknesses in his game. Before the injury, this athlete spent a lot of time also playing cornerback and working on being a returner, so the rehab gave him tremendous focus to improve. His size and power are issues because Ross does not hold up against more physical corners as he gets knocked around while running routes. He doesn’t win many 50/50 balls and did not face press coverage often. The receiver is somewhat emotional and sometimes fights the ball into his hands or becomes lazy by trying to body catch. The former Huskie playmaker has incurred some ball security issues when he was fighting for additional yardage and doesn’t appear to enjoy getting hit. Ross is not much help as a run blocker either.
Pros: The receiver lines up on the outside and in the slot while getting sent in motion to create the best matchup for him. He has lightning quick feet that allow him to start and stop suddenly while making crisp breaks on routes or finding the cutback lane to exploit tacklers in space. Ross uses spins, stiff-arms, shoulder shakes, amazing balance, and acceleration to get into the open field. The former Huskie playmaker can take a screen the distance by following his blockers and running down the sidelines or can track the ball high in the air, catch it at its highest point in stride, and run behind the defense to get into the endzone. There isn’t a route the receiver won’t run and unlike most playmakers in this year’s class he has a second and third gear to exploit down the field. Don’t let his size discount you into thinking he is not a red zone threat as Ross has perfected the bucket right in front of the pylon.
Overall impressions: Ross III is an explosive athlete who will need to start in the slot to use his quick feet and avoid physical corners. His lack of toughness will limit his upside to that of a fantasy WR3, at least to start his career. Without the ability to run block, he might only be used in three wide receiver sets. I currently have Ross as my third rookie receiver, but that ranking may change if he goes to a team that does not pass as much.
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