April 12, 2017
One of the players that has been linked to the Philadelphia Eagles during the pre-draft process, even after the Birds added receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to the mix, has been Washington speedster John Ross.
A few months ago, we noted that the Eagles' focus on free agency and the draft at the wide receiver position would be on speed. Sure enough, the Eagles poked around a bit on blazers like DeSean Jackson and Kenny Stills, before ultimately settling on Smith.
While Smith was a nice pickup and an upgrade over what the Eagles have on the outside, the Eagles may not want to stop there. They could look to find a long-term playmaker with top-end speed for their offense. John Ross has top-end speed, and then some. At the 2017 NFL Combine, he ran an absolutely blazing 4.22, breaking the previous record of 4.24, which was held by Chris Johnson.
Doug Pederson was asked specifically about Ross at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix a couple weeks ago.
"A guy like that, he's dynamic, has good speed, elusive, quick, short-area quickness are the things you see on film with him and on tape," he said. "He's a guy, I think, wherever he ends up, could potentially be a difference maker because of the speed and that elusive quickness with the ball in his hands. And that’s the thing about it, you know, wherever he ends up, he's a guy that will be schemed every single week offensively to figure out how to get him the ball."
Speed is great and all, but can he play football?
Yes. In 2016, Ross had 81 catches for 1150 yards and 17 TDs. While his calling card is deep speed, Ross also has good hands, he can work the short-to-intermediate routes, and get yards after the catch. He was also a dangerous kick returner, taking four kicks to the house in his career at Washington. He's hardly a one-trick pony.
The downside with Ross, however, is his extensive history of injuries.
Ross' injury history includes:— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) February 10, 2017
Left ACL tear
now shoulder surgery post-Combine https://t.co/EtWAMLJ9Fs
Pederson was asked if Ross' injury history concerned him.
"Well, no," he said. "I think too with the sports science that's evolving today and I know what we do in our building, it's something that we monitor. We can help players, obviously. Jason Peters, he played all 16 games last year and played at a high level. So there's ways of keeping these guys healthy."
Ross had shoulder surgery a few weeks ago to repair a torn labrum that will keep him on the shelf for a substantial period of time (roughly four-to-six months), but he should be ready for the regular season, and perhaps sooner.
The only way the Eagles would even consider taking Ross at pick 14 would be if Pederson was being truthful about the Eagles' lack of concerns about his injury history. While Ross is a potential game-changing player when healthy, I can't imagine there's no concern about his injury history.
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