Emerson stands out for his size (6-foot-2, 201 pounds), and fluidity as a cover man despite being a fairly big corner.
Emerson’s best season at Mississippi State was 2020, when he posted 72 total tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss and an SEC-leading 11 passes defensed. Last season, he had 49 total tackles (three tackles for loss) with three pass breakups.
With only one career interception in college, Emerson immediately invites the (tongue-in-cheek) idea “if he could catch, he’d be a wide receiver”. But Lance Zierlein of NFL.com has pointed to some lack of aggression in regard to the ball–“Too content to bat it away instead of taking it away.”
The Lions need help at corner. Emerson seems to have a skill set defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant can mold into a good player.
If he could have been eligible for the 2020 draft after two college seasons, Ross might have been a first-round pick. He put up an even 1,000 yards (21.7 yards per catch) with nine touchdowns as a freshman in 2018, then followed with 865 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019.
Spinal surgery then cost Ross the whole 2020 season, and he did not seem quite back to full form last year (46 catches for 514 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games). Clemson’s quarterback drop-off from Trevor Lawrence has to be noted there.
Ross has the size (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) to win contested catch situations, and he’s athletic enough to be good after the catch. More time removed from spinal surgery will only help, and he’s an interesting addition to the Lions’ receiving corps as an “X” receiver type.