The catch was important, but so was the context. When Chiefs receiver Justyn Ross came down with a deep sideline throw from Patrick Mahomes during 7-on-7 drills Wednesday,
it continued a strong start to camp for the second-year wideout from Clemson.
The opportunity there shouldn’t go overlooked, either. Ross was rotating into first-team snap with Mahomes at quarterback.
He also caught the pass while going against cornerback Joshua Williams, who figures to push for a starting role this season.
While Ross is not getting every first-team rep at receiver — Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore have had those positions locked down —
he’s also getting noticeable run with the team’s best players. The Chiefs have certainly paid close attention to Ross’ production thus far.
That includes Mahomes and coach Andy Reid, who praised Ross for his training camp work following Wednesday’s practice.
“He’s done a nice job. He had a good offseason. And then he worked his tail off here,” Reid said. “He just needs to keep doing that.
It’s how you answer the bell every day and push through it. But he’s got the right mindset to do that.” Mahomes, when asked about Ross’ camp to this point, said he’d “had a good one.”
“Learning the offense fast. You can tell he’s been going in the offense for a year now,” Mahomes said. “Obviously making big plays, and he’s getting more and more involved in those first-team reps.
And so, a guy that I have a lot of hope for that he can be a really good player in this offense.” Ross’ climb is particularly noteworthy given his past.
The 6-foot-4 receiver initially drew buzz as one of the league’s most fascinating 2022 undrafted free agents after flashing huge potential at Clemson before injuries marred his draft stock.
He also had previous surgery to address a congenital fusion in his spine, and after sitting out a year,
his production at Clemson fell partly because he played most of the season through a stress fracture in his foot.
He signed with the Chiefs last season before being placed on injured reserve (for foot surgery) in July.
It made for a productive but frustrating year for Ross, who remained in the team facility to learn the offense even if he couldn’t help the Chiefs on the field during their Super Bowl run.
“Obviously, it was a little pain for me, because I wanted to be out there playing,” Ross said Wednesday.
“I already had a year off before then, so it was a little pain. But it was a great experience (to be with the team) for sure.”