Despite concerns surrounding his durability issues with the Washington Huskies, John Ross’ undoubted talent and potential saw him drafted ninth overall.
In the end, only one Washington Huskies‘ player was drafted in the first round of this year’s NFL draft. However, it was a high pick, as John Ross was selected ninth overall by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Almost immediately, there were questions asking if Ross deserved to be drafted so high? As always, it comes down to perspective.
Most of the concerns center around the 21-year old’s durability during his time with the Huskies. This led to certain NFL teams removing him from their first round draft board, due to his previous health issues.
In truth though, these same teams were arguably overacting, despite Ross missing the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. Consider that he played in 40 of a possible 41 games in his other three seasons with the Huskies.
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Further, you could point to the torn shoulder labrum injury the Long Beach, California native suffered during the 2016 campaign as a sign of his toughness. Despite requiring surgery, he played through the pain and waited until after the combine to get the matter rectified.
Another argument relates to the lack of production from Ross during his college football career. Certainly, a combined 579 receiving yards during his first two seasons was nothing to write home about.
However, the 2016 AP Pac-12 Player of the Year exploded onto the scene last year, after returning from his ACL tear. By the end of the campaign, he had recorded one of the best ever receiving seasons for the Huskies.
Ross’ 81 receptions included 17 touchdown scores, good enough for second all-time (as well as third overall in the nation for 2016). In addition, his 1,122 receiving yards ranked as the fourth-best in school history.
Still though, some teams couldn’t look past Ross’ injury issues, not that it mattered in the end. His addition in Cincinnati, makes a receiving corps including A.J. Green, Brandon LaFell and Tyler Eifert even more dangerous.
As for the 2016 First-Team All-Pac-12 selection himself, he wasn’t surprised to be drafted so high. Speaking to Adam Jude of The Seattle Times and other members of the media via a conference call, he said:
"“I was very excited. I definitely expected (it). Me believing in myself I expected to go in the top 10. I felt like I have top-10 talent. I think the only thing I felt like was holding me back was the speculations about my injuries.”"
Overall, it is appreciated that there is a certain element of risk connected to drafting Ross so high. Regardless, his talent and potential make him more than worth the gamble and we wish him all the best in Cincinnati.
Understandably, most Huskies fans will be delighted for Ross. However, if you look at the situation objectively, do you genuinely think he deserved to be selected so high in the draft? Share your thoughts in the comments section.