Bengals’ training camp battles: Wide Receiver #3
Going into the year, the wide receiver position looks to be one of the Bengals’ biggest strengths on the roster. After the addition of Clemson wideout Tee Higgins, the unit coached by Bob Bicknell has a dangerous group of five receivers.
Along with Higgins, A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross III, and Auden Tate are all very talented receivers for rookie quarterback Joe Burrow to pass the ball to. Green and Boyd are the obvious top two options in the passing game, but who comes next?
The second-round rookie has a strong chance of being the third option. Higgins was brought in by Zac Taylor and his staff, as opposed to Ross and Tate who were drafted as a part of a previous regime.
However, the former Tiger is entering his first season and will be coming off of a shortened offseason of preparation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the rookie has a very similar game to lead receiver Green and the Bengals could look to field a more unique receiver opposite the Cincinnati legend.
That’s where Ross comes in. The former ninth overall pick has had an inconsistent career up to this point. The 40-yard dash record holder has struggled to stay healthy up to this point, appearing in only 24 games throughout his three-season career. While Ross has flashed his potential at times, he has not shown it consistently enough to gain complete faith.
However, his elite speed gives the Bengals a completely new dimension to their passing game when he is on the field. With a receiver in Ross who can take the top off of a defense, opposing coaches have to plan for the fourth-year receiver. When Ross is on the field, Green and Boyd will be covered less and their jobs will be made much easier.
Higgins’ durability may give him a better statistical outlook than Ross at the end of the season, but if he’s healthy, the third option in the Bengals’ passing offense should be the speedster.
Winner: John Ross III