Training camp has just gotten started, but John Ross looks like he’s already made huge strides entering his second season with the Bengals.
Few Bengals players needed to prove themselves more than John Ross IV this training camp. Last year, the team took him 9th overall (as I’m sure you already know). Even at the time of the draft, that pick seemed like a mistake – there were several, more established starters on the board at the time. Then, Ross followed his selection up with a dismal rookie year. He literally had negative fantasy points while missing most of the season with soft tissue injuries.
Clearly, Ross needed to have a great sophomore season in order to show he wasn’t a bust. Everything leading up to camp in the offseason was a positive sign. He seemed to be healthy during OTAs and was working out with JuJu Smith-Schuster and former Bengals WR TJ Houshmandzadeh. Now, Ross has finally gotten to flash his skills on the field.
On one of the first days of camp, Ross made his mark on Bengals training camp. Ross caught an absolute bomb from Dalton in a full team scrimmage, displaying all the skills that make him special. Ross was covered by Kirkpatrick, who had him smothered the entire route. In fact, when Dalton released the ball, Kirkpatrick was in front of Ross. Ross, though, used his incredible speed to blow by Kirkpatrick and reel in the pass. Ross’ dynamic speed is definitely what makes him so good.
However, one play isn’t enough to make up for an entire lost season. Yesterday, though, Ross showed out again. At one point in the practice, William Jackson III was in coverage on him. Jackson is a better corner than Kirkpatrick and has more speed than him, but even he was challenged by Ross. On one deep ball, Jackson and Ross were step-for-step for about 40 yards, before Ross started to blow past Jackson. Jackson committed a pass interference penalty, but Ross had him beat.
Not only was Ross burning corners on deep routes, but he was also flashing his route running. Though Ross is known for his speed, he was a good route runner at Washington as well. The Bengals likely identified that in the pre draft process. On one play yesterday, Ross made a devilish cut on a Bengals corner and had a wide open slant. He also had a ton of room to run after the catch. Just the threat of his speed opens up so much room for him underneath. If this is the John Ross we will see during the regular season, opposing teams better watch out.