Linebacker Josh Ross, a former two-time team captain for Michigan, is looking forward to proving himself in the NFL if given the opportunity.
Ross should not expect to hear his name called during the 2022 NFL Draft, according to NFL Mock Draft Database, but he is expected to get a shot to make a roster via the undrafted free agent route. Ross is not worried about his NFL Scouting Combine numbers or draft projections. He just wants an opportunity to play in the NFL and show his talent and leadership skills.
“I can’t control who watches my game, who watches film, but as a guy that played at Michigan as a linebacker that played at a high level — that plays at a high level — I bring so much to the table,” Ross said on Glenn Clark Radio April 15. “Whoever gets me, I believe it’s going to be a steal. Overlooked or not, I’m not really worried about that. I’m just ready to go prove myself when the time comes and the lights are on.”
Ross recorded 106 total tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks during his graduate year in 2021, helping Michigan win the Big Ten championship and make its first-ever College Football Playoff. The 6-foot-2, 224-pound linebacker did not have a great Combine, posting a 4.79 40-yard dash, a 31-inch vertical jump and a 109-inch broad jump.
Ross believes his skills are not something that can really be appreciated at the Combine.
“I am a football player. I’m not a Combine guy, never was, but at the same time, it’s about getting to Point A to Point B as fast as possible,” Ross said. “That’s one thing last year that I improved was my play recognition, how fast I get to the ball and as a theme, a lot of scouts that I talk to always [told me] that I play a lot faster than what my 40 shows so don’t worry about it.”
Particularly since the Ravens have 10 draft picks and Mike Macdonald is the new defensive coordinator, the Ravens could take a chance and bring Ross to Baltimore. Macdonald was Michigan’s defensive coordinator in 2021. Ross loved his experience with Macdonald and would not be opposed to having that experience again while playing professional football.
“My experience with Coach Mike Macdonald was the best possible experience it could be,” Ross said. “I remember the first conversation we had. … It’s so easy to talk to this guy, it’s so easy to open up to this guy and build a bond on a different level than I ever built with a coach. Coach Mike Macdonald was an excellent leader, an excellent coach and it paid dividends having him in our program last season.”
Ross would be extremely excited to work together again with Macdonald, either in 2022 or at some point down the line.
“I would definitely be excited [to play for him again],” Ross said. “We have to see what happens, but if me and Coach Mike reunite one day, whether if it’s draft day or any time after that, I’m going to be the happiest dude ever.”
Ross’s older brother James also played at Michigan and spent a preseason in the NFL with the Chargers, who were located in San Diego at the time (2016). James taught his younger brother a lot about football, and he fueled Josh’s incredibly competitive nature. James was a graduate assistant at Michigan from 2018-2020 and recently signed on to become Cincinnati’s outside linebackers coach under Luke Fickell.
“My brother James, he’s literally been coaching me ever since I came out of the womb,” Ross said. “We were five and a half years apart growing up, and everything he did, I wanted to do better. My brother was one of those guys that was a great guy, the best role model I could possibly have, but he also was a superstar when we were young.
“I was the little brother in our family that used to get picked on and bullied on a little bit cause I used to lose and it built a competitive nature in me that’s unexplainable. I’m a competitor, I want to win. I want to compete.”
If the Ravens decide to take a chance on Ross, they’ll be getting a hard-working player who only cares about what happens to the team, not about his personal stats.
“I’m a go-getter. I’m a gritty, tenacious, tough player that leaves his heart out on the field every single snap, every rep and I’m a guy, my whole career, my whole life, whatever I have to do to help the team win, I’m about it,” Ross said. “A team is going to get a guy that is going to do everything in his power to help the team win, help the team get better and help myself be the best player I can be every day.”
For more from Ross, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: U-M Photography