As the NFL grows, undrafted players are becoming more and more prevalent. Some linger around on the practice squad before becoming obsolete while others have contributed greatly to their teams and have gone on to have extremely productive careers.
A perfect example of an undrafted player fighting for his career is Dayvon Ross, a wide receiver for the Washington Redskins. Ross is trying to etch his name amongst the list of other notable undrafted wide receivers, such as, Rod Smith, Wes Welker and Wayne Chrebet. But the second year player out of Central State will have to overcome many obstacles to reach this success.
However, if there is anyone familiar with overcoming obstacles it would be Dayvon Ross. He has shown the type of resilience throughout his life that is needed for success.
Ross grew up in a tough neighborhood on the south side of Los Angeles along with his nine siblings. Football was Ross’s escape from his troubled home life and offered him a chance to make a name for himself. He managed to seize this opportunity by posting impressive numbers in his senior year in high school which caught the eye of college football powerhouse, UCLA.
However, due to a miscommunication about his course work, Ross was deemed ineligible by the NCAA and was forced to look at JUCO’s. After stints at L.A. Southwest College and East L.A. College, Ross drew the interest of the University of Virginia on the east coast. Unfortunately yet again, the NCAA denied Ross because his credits were unable to transfer.
With his options limited, Ross turned to Central State, a Division II program located in Ohio. There, he posted impressive numbers in his senior year, catching 60 passes for 926 yards and eight touchdowns.
After graduation, Ross still had the high aspirations of entering the NFL. Most D-II players do not have a chance to enter the National Football League but Dayvon Ross’s size and impressive statistics gained him an invitation to a regional combine event.
After finally getting an opportunity on the big stage, Ross had hopes of having his named called on draft day, however he was left disappointed. On the bright side, Ross was immediately in contact with several NFL teams including the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks proceeded to pick up Ross shortly after the draft and then eventually placed him on their practice squad.
Unfortunately, an injury derailed Ross’s stint with the Seahawks as he was released during his rookie season in 2014.
Ross still was determined to find his place in the league and in March, the Washington Redskins claimed the young receiver. The Redskins are keeping an eye on Ross’s development and look to use him as a wide receiver/tight end hybrid in the future.
Currently, Ross is listed at 6’1 and 235 pounds and boasts a 4.51 in the 40. He is now completely healthy and ready to make a name for himself in the league with the Redskins.
Dayvon Ross’s work ethic and perseverance helped him conquer many obstacles on and off the field. The Redskins are giving him the opportunity he has worked so hard to get.
John Carr, National Scouting Director at NFL Undrafted, contributed to this article