There are hundreds of stories being told during the planning and anticipation of the 2017 NFL Draft. Today we will be looking at a scouting report for senior wideout Fred Ross, Mississippi State Bulldogs..
WR-Fred Ross, Mississippi State 6’1” 203 lbs.
Fred “The Boss” Ross was a slightly above average receiver that was relatively unknown outside of the SEC until his senior season. During his first three seasons, the wideout scored a combined ten touchdowns. This past year, the senior Bulldog scored 12 times elevating himself with the scouting community. Because I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, let’s break down what I saw in the six games I reviewed of this senior playmaker: 2016 contests versus Arkansas, Texas A&M, LSU, BYU, and Miami (OH) along with a 2015 game against Missouri. Most of these game videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. Here are my thoughts:
Cons: Ross is a bit robotic/tightly hipped so he doesn’t make crisp cuts in and out of breaks when running pass patterns. This makes it harder for him to gain separation against defensive backs. He uses quite a few steps to change direction which makes him easier to control and cover. The Bulldogs tried to manufacture ways to get the ball in his hands, but he was ineffective passing the ball and seldom got past the line of scrimmage on jet sweeps. The receiver lost track of the pigskin in the air and does not have the second gear to get behind most defenders. He has issues grabbing the ball cleanly (body catching) and did not adjust well to poorly thrown passes. When the pigskin was not targeted his way, Ross tends to take the play off or just gets in the way not showing a lot of effort in his blocking.
Pros: The wideout looks a bit like Anquan Boldin with his muscular build and physicality for the ball including being fearless catching over the middle. Ross wins a lot of 50/50 throws by shielding defenders away with his body, even in double coverage. He can line up outside, in the slot, or be sent in motion. The former Bulldog gets off the line of scrimmage with quick feet and a nice punch. When targeted well, he can snare the pigskin in stride and use the sidelines to his advantage. Ross has soft hands, reads blockers well on slip screens, can spin away from trouble, and demonstrates limited burst in the open field. Once the wideout has the ball in his hands, he will fight for the first down with his strong leg drive or fully extend himself to score the touchdown.
Overall impressions: His tight hips will knock him down quite a bit at the next level. Ross is a good punt returner, so that might be the way he makes a team this season. There is athletic talent there that needs to be refined, but I doubt the former Bulldog makes much of an impact in his rookie season. Grab him near the end of your rookie draft and hide him on your taxi squad.
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You can watch some highlights below if you’re not patient go ahead and skip ahead to 1:45 mark for an amazing catch.