Bengals: Why John Ross can finally live up to his draft billing in 2020

John Ross (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
John Ross (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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John Ross
Cincinnati Bengals, John Ross (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

John Ross’s unique talents

Despite competing for targets with a loaded wide receiver group, John Ross brings unique abilities that no other receiver on the roster can.

With an NFL 40-yard dash record of 4.22 seconds, Ross is among the fastest players in the entire league. This blazing speed makes the fourth-year receiver a dangerous deep threat. Despite the Bengals having a plethora of talented pass catchers, their next fastest 40 time at the position is 4.48. The speed that Ross brings to the Cincinnati offense is a luxury that only a few teams have in the NFL.

Under a new head coach in 2019, Ross showed just how explosive he could be. Due to injuries, he only played in 8 games and 37% of the team’s offensive snaps, but he still managed to be a dynamic playmaker in those limited opportunities.

With 28 receptions for 506 yards and 3 TDs, the former Washington Husky’s 18.1 yards a reception in 2019 proved that he could be the explosive weapon he was drafted to be, as long as he’s healthy. He even led the league in receiving yards throughout the first few games of the season, before the injuries started.

However, he’s not just a deep threat. In his sophomore season in 2018, Ross showed himself to be a surprisingly dangerous red-zone weapon. Despite only having 21 receptions in his second year as a pro, Ross had 7 total touchdowns, 5 of which were scored in the red-zone. Then head coach Marvin Lewis did not seem to know how to use Ross, but even he was able to use him in the red-zone.

If Ross can combine the red-zone ability he showed in 2018 with the electric play ability he displayed in 2019, he could become the Bengals’ most dangerous receiver. However, he’ll first have to show that he can stay healthy.