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2022 NFL Draft: Justyn Ross Injury Overview (Fantasy Football)

2022 NFL Draft: Justyn Ross Injury Overview (Fantasy Football)

What a wild ride it’s been for Justyn Ross. He stormed onto the scene in the ’18 College Football Playoffs, amassing 300 yards and 3 TDs in 2 games against the nation’s best competition. After a solid ’19 campaign, doctors discovered an abnormality in his spine that required a fusion surgery and cost him all of ’20. Ross’s ’21 was less impressive but also was cut short – this time, by a stress fracture in his foot. While the details of the fracture weren’t released, Coach Dabo Swinney’s comments suggest an injury similar to the one Derrick Henry sustained this past year.

Andrew Erickson Mock Draft

Although you never feel great about a draft prospect coming off of a second surgery, the outlook here is mostly good news. From a production standpoint, skill position players in the SportsMedAnalytics database do return to full pre-injury levels after a brief period to ramp back up. As we saw from the case of Derrick Henry, NFL players can return about 3 months after surgery, which Ross had at the end of 2021. He has been medically cleared, which tells us that the fracture itself has already healed. From the perspective of durability risk going forward, there’s not a great cause for concern here. Re-injury rates for this fracture are relatively low (<10% in the SportsMedAnalytics data), so it would be surprising to see this pop up as an issue again. If you need further reassurance, look no further than 49ers stud Deebo Samuel or perennial All-Star Kevin Durant, who you’ve probably forgotten have both bounced back from similar injuries.

NFL Draft: Breaking Down Clemson WR Justyn Ross’ Injury History partner-arrow

And what about the spinal fusion that cost Ross all of 2020? There’s both good and bad news with this. On the positive side, this particular issue doesn’t put Ross at risk of complications this far out from surgery. On the negative, we also can’t attribute his underwhelming ’21 production or below-average Pro Day results – 4.63 40 time, 31.5 inch vertical – to a temporary hangover effect from the surgery.

As a WR, Ross’s productivity does, of course, depend on the offense around him, and it obviously was not as strong this past year as it had previously been with Trevor Lawrence at the helm. Scouts have mixed reviews on the actual talent here, and most draft analysts project Ross as a slot WR. If he lands with a hyper-productive QB like Mahomes or Josh Allen, then he’s probably worth taking a chance on in fantasy. Otherwise, I’ll be passing on Justyn Ross for the foreseeable future.

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