There’s still time to sign UDFA Justyn Ross

Against all odds, the philadelphia eagles are actually pretty well-stocked at wide receiver.

They have a new proven number one option in AJ Brown, a promising young pass-catcher who might prove to be even better in DeVonta Smith, and 2020 draftee Jalen Reagor Quez Watkins, who should remain in the starting lineup in 2022. Factor in Zach Pascal and Greg Ward, who both signed one-year deals earlier this year, and the Eagles’ receiving corps is pretty well stocked heading into the regular season.

With that being said, if there’s one thing the unit is lacking ever so slightly, it’s height.

That’s right, even with the addition of Brown, who is a tried and true X receiver, the Eagles only have a wide receiver, Pascal, who is taller than 6-foot-1, and he’s on a one-year contract. But what are the Eagles to do? The draft is over; they just have to live with that lack of height, right?

Maybe not. While the 2022 NFL Draft is over, one of the more intriguing undrafted players in this year’s class, Justin Rosshas yet to sign with a professional team and could potentially add some pop to a team in need of a hulking presence on the outside.

Could that team be the Philadelphia Eagles? You know, it very well could be.

Justyn Ross is a risk worth taking for the Philadelphia Eagles.

From 2018-19, Justyn Ross was arguably the best wide receiver at Clemson.

A four-star recruit who chose the Tigers over Alabama, LSU, Penn State, and about a dozen of the top colleges the NCAA has to offer, Ross burst onto the national stage in a big way as a freshman, catching three passes for 103 yards and a touchdown in his second collegiate game on the way to a 46 catch, 1,000 yard, nine touchdown season paired up with Trevor Lawrence. From there, Ross continued to shine with the Tigers in 2019, catching 66 passes for 865 yards and eight touchdowns – a mark only exceeded by future Cincinnati Bengals second-round pick Tee Higgins.

Surely the future was looking bright for the 6-foot-4, 205-pound receiver but then, out of nowhere, disaster struck; Ross was diagnosed with a congenital fusion condition of his neck and spine that required surgery, and he missed the entire 2020 college football season as a result. While Ross returned to the field in 2021, his production of him was hampered by an all-around down year by DJ Uiagalelei and company, as he only amassed 514 yards and three touchdowns on 46 receptions, which led the team but was down from his previous offensive production. Factor in his limited route tree, and the prospects of drafting Ross became just too scary for all 32 front offices across the NFL.

Fast forward to Sunday, May 1st, and Ross remains undrafted. He hasn’t been signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who employ his former quarterback, or Higgins’ team, the Bengals, and there haven’t been any serious rumors linking him to any of the other 30 teams across the NFL either.

Should the Philadelphia Eagles be the team that gives Ross his shot? If his medicals from him clear out, why not?

If Ross was magically transplanted onto the Eagles’ roster, he’d be the team’s presumed WR5. He would n’t overtake AJ Brown or DeVonta Smith on the outside or Zach Pascal and Quez Watkins on the inside, but his size could present matchups worthy of specific “Ross Packages” a la Doug Pederson’s efforts to get Jalen Hurts on the field early in his rookie season. If Ross succeeded in that role during his rookie season, it’s entirely possible his role could expand with each passing season of the standard three-year contract rookie UDFAs sign and become a starter for a 2024 Eagles team looking to extend Smith and Brown.

Between you and me, the upside Ross showed from 2018-19 is worth a UDFA contract, even if he never again reaches that level of production.

Will the Philadelphia Eagles sign Justyn Ross? Only time will tell – on paper; there isn’t an obvious connection between the two parties, but hey, who predicted Howie Roseman signing Carson Strong, Josh Jobe, and Ross’ former teammate, Mario Goodrich, as UDFAs? If the Eagles are willing to get creative and give Ross the shot he’s been asking for, he might have that opportunity paid back ten times over.

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