How Receiver Emerged From Patriots Longshot To Training Camp Standout

Devin Ross has been a bright spot in the Patriots' wide receiver group.

by Doug Kyed

Aug 19, 2020

FOXBORO, Mass. — There were signs that the New England Patriots knew they had something in wide receiver Devin Ross this offseason.

Perhaps the biggest and most telling one was when he was kept and promising undrafted free agents like Isaiah Zuber and Will Hastings were cut (but eventually brought back) when the Patriots trimmed their roster from 90 to 80 players in late-July.

Still, Ross was one of the biggest long shots on the Patriots’ roster entering training camp. Now he’s as a surprise standout three days into competitive practices as he’s flashed soft hands and impressive wiggle in his routes.

Ross credits virtual meetings during the offseason workout program.

“That helped me a lot being able to learn everything, learn the whole scheme and be able to go out there and play fast and just know everything and how to read coverages,” Ross said Wednesday on a video conference call. “It’s all just coming together and being able to get repetitions at it is definitely helping a lot.”

Ross, a 5-foot-9, 192-pounds wide receiver out of Colorado, signed to the Patriots’ practice squad last October. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick acknowledged Wednesday that Ross might not have been fully healthy when he signed last season, and the wideout was never plucked off of the practice squad to fill the 53-man roster.

Ross was a futures signing back in January and is now pushing for a roster spot in camp.

“I was very excited to be able to sign back and come back to this great place,” Ross said. “Last year I just loved being in the building. The environment is amazing, the coaches and teammates are very amazing. Everybody’s fun and good to be around. It’s a great atmosphere so that makes me even more excited to go out there and play to make sure I can do whatever I can to stay here and have fun with it as well. It just a blessing to be able to play football and be here. I love it.”

Ross was one of just seven wide receivers at practice Wednesday with N’Keal Harry and Jeff Thomas absent and Will Hastings limited. Ross might have been scrounging for opportunities in a normal summer with full health and 90-man rosters. He’s getting plenty of chances in training camp sessions this summer.

“My receiver coach (Mick Lombardi) mentioned that every rep we get is like a piece of gold and I took that to heart,” Ross said. “I feel like it’s a true statement. Every time you get a chance to go out there it’s a great opportunity to be able to put something great out there and make a name for yourself and show your coaches and teammates what you can do. I feel like every opportunity to go out there is special for me so I just make sure I go as hard as I can no matter how I’m feeling. I know it’s a big opportunity and it’s great to go out there and try and build trust and confidence.”

Ross will continue to compete with Hastings, Harry, Mohamed Sanu, Jakobi Meyers, Damiere Byrd, Gunner Olszewski and Isaiah Zuber for spots on the Patriots’ wide receiver depth chart. Ross is still an underdog, but he’s at least increased his chances at a role with an impressive start to the summer.

Thumbnail photo via Casey Sapio/USA TODAY Sports Images
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