Fred “The Boss” Ross exploded onto the college football scene during his junior year. His play against Arkansas in 2015 was truly something to behold.
Whilst not the most intimidating from an athletic standpoint, Ross was always making plays during his final two years at Mississippi State.
Ross measured in at an adequate 6’0″, 215lbs down at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. A strong hands catcher with sneaky speed and burst, Ross consistently made clutch plays. He understands how to get open in zone coverage and how to help his quarterback in scramble drills. Showed great body control and the ability to make big plays and get yards after the catch.
Does all the football basics very well. Protects the ball with great technique after the catch and helped his team in any way that he could. He was willing to block linebackers, catch passes over the middle and return punts. He played inside, outside, in the backfield and was often used on jet sweeps and screens. Whenever Mississippi State needed a play, Ross was usually the go-to guy.
The tape against Arkansas in 2015 was mighty impressive. Ross made one particularly eye-catching play which I’ll quickly breakdown;
(2:20) = Ross starts in the slot and works his way up and towards the middle of the field. He makes a stunning one-handed in tight coverage and slips away from his defender. He turns upfield, puts a move on the safety and makes his way to the end-zone. Truly amazing.
I believe Ross will struggle to separate from defenders at the next level. He struggled against press coverage and doesn’t show incredible top-end speed or lateral movement. Whilst undoubtedly a willing blocker he needs to play with better leverage and technique if he is to improve this facet of his game.
He needs to be more consistent with his hands, which he admitted himself during an interview at the Senior Bowl (via NFL.com);
"“I wanted to show the scouts that I could be consistent with my hands and finish making plays, and I think I definitely improved on that.”"
Projection: Round 5-6
Fred Ross was a tough evaluation. During his final two years at Mississippi State, all he did was produce and I don’t know how. I agree with Matt Miller when he says that he doesn’t ever expect Ross to develop into a No.1 receiver, but that he would be a nice possession receiver.
I expect Ross to be a quiet contributor in the NFL. One who excels as a zone coverage beater and as a quarterback’s security blanket.