With the unanswered question about the future of veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could John Ross potentially replace him?
The pick sent shock waves through draft circles as Ross was projected to be a first round selection but the middle of round one was projected as the best-case scenario. First round wide receivers rarely pan out, but John Ross has shown flashes of serious potential in his short career. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be Ross’s chance for a fresh start.
The fastest man to ever run the 40 (4.22) at the NFL combine is officially on the trade market. First year Head Coach of the Cincinnati Bengal’s Zac Taylor is wasting no time when it comes to acquiring the talent he wants for his offense. Wide receiver John Ross was a former 9th overall first round selection of the Bengals back in 2017 but hasn’t exactly panned out like they hoped he would. Although Ross was a first round selection it wouldn’t cost much more than a late round pick to acquire him from Cincy.
The beginning of Ross’s tenure in Cincy was shaky due to injuries and a lack of support from former Head Coach Marvin Lewis and that lack of support clearly effected the confidence of Ross. In his entire first year Ross was rarely used only appearing in three games while starting one. On the season Ross totaled an alarming 0 catches on 2 total targets and one carry for 12 yards and a fumble lost.
Heading into year two the expectations from the team and national media were extremely low for Ross but he managed to put together a quietly productive season. Ross played in 13 games while starting 10 of those which was a fast improvement from what he did during the 2017 season. Over the course of the 2018 season Ross totaled 21 catches for 210 yards and 7 total touchdowns.
The catches and yards aren’t exciting but the 7 touchdowns on limited catches made him an elite red zone threat. If it weren’t for well below average quarterback play from Andy Dalton and back up Jeff Driskel we would’ve seen even more out of Ross. Ryan McCrystal from Bleacher Report shed some light on the poor quality of targets that Ross saw last season.
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This situation is reminiscent of the former Ohio State WR Ted Ginn Jr who was also the 9th overall selection in the 2007 draft and was considered a bust after his time with the Miami Dolphins. Since Ginn was labeled a bust and traded he’s been a very productive weapon for the Carolina Panthers and now the New Orleans Saints; we may just see a similar career path for Ross that we’ve seen from Ginn.
A change of scenery may just be exactly what Ross needs to become the elite receiver he’s shown he can be in limited work. Even after multiple reports about Ross being on the market Zac Taylor came out today and denied the validity of the trade rumors but where there is smoke there’s usually fire. Ross is only 24 years old and is still on his rookie deal and is available for relatively cheap.
If Head Coach Bruce Arians and Quarterback Jameis Winston can’t convince DJax to give it another shot, they should call on Ross and see what it’ll take to land the third-year speedster. John Ross has the potential to be the WR3 and would add another element to the passing game alongside WR Mike Evans and Chris Godwin for years to come.