Unless the 2015 Dallas Cowboys season kept you in hiding for all of the greatness that was 2016, you well know by now that the team’s future is as bright as ever thanks to former Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott. A fourth round pick in 2016, Prescott’s Cowboys are already a force to be reckoned with in the NFL, and now they have a chance to add even more talent in the 2017 Draft. One such talent at a position of need is WR Fred Ross – who was actually Prescott’s top target as a Bulldog in 2015.
The Cowboys could very well prioritize the WR position based on the free agent status of both Terrance Williams and Brice Butler, opting to use one of their higher picks on another play maker for Dak. They should also strongly consider looking at Fred Ross in the later rounds, who they visited with twice at the Senior Bowl, and not just because of his connection to their now franchise quarterback.
Much more than just a deep ball threat, Ross sells his routes off the line with decisive moves and head fakes…
This quote and film clip comes from my complete scouting report of Fred Ross over on Slant Sports, and very simply displays some of the abilities that would make him a great fit with the Cowboys.
While he won’t start at WR2 as a rookie, Ross could certainly compete for snaps all through training camp, and is a difference maker when on the field for a number of reasons. This slant route above shows his value as a big target that Dak Prescott already trusts, and you can easily envision an unsuspecting defense worried about Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant allowing Ross to make this type of play in the red zone.
Ross consistently makes tough catches look easy, a relatively versatile wide receiver that would be an upgrade near the bottom of the depth chart for Dallas. Assuming for a second that Terrance Williams gets paid elsewhere this off season, adding Ross to a pass catching group that would feature Bryant, Cole Beasley, and presumably Brice Butler makes this unit an incredibly balanced and deep one.
An all around smooth athlete that makes plays look effortless at times, Ross’ ability to not waste any space on his vertical routes should make him a guy that NFL scouts can envision a role for early in his career…
To reach his full potential in the NFL, Fred Ross will need to greatly improve as a route runner, but with the Cowboys being so run-heavy he would have an opportunity right away to make an impact by sticking to what he knows and running simple routes to get his early touches.
…his soft hands did allow for some curl, stop, and slant routes to get thrown his way along with the go route, but even simple drag routes were difficult for Ross to execute coming across the field.
The Cowboys are well staffed to work with a WR like Ross thanks to Derek Dooley and Scott Linehan, and the ceiling for a guy like him is well worth a 4th or 5th round pick.
Only further securing my “match made in heaven” for Fred Ross to join Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys is Ross’ ability to come in on day one and be a deep ball threat with reliable hands – a missing element to this team’s offense away from Dez Bryant.
This clip from his scouting report shows that, and when you factor in the yards after the catch that Ross produced on simple screen plays and other schemed touches with Mississippi State, you get a welcome addition and developmental prospect on the Cowboys’ offense for 2017 and beyond.
So say it with me Cowboys Nation, “Prescott completes to Ross”.
Our second-year quarterback could be completing passes to a receiver that should be available for the Cowboys in the fourth or fifth round (graded in the 5th on my 2017 NFL Draft Board), and everything will be that much more awesome in 2017.