Bengals first-round bust Wide Receiver John Ross requested to be traded early Tuesday afternoon. He had his ups but mostly had his downs. He wants a fresh start with a new team. What happened?
John Ross has first-round talent. He’s shown it in college with the Washington Huskies. Every once in a while, he shows brilliance in the NFL, but the way he consistently doesn’t translate this brilliance makes him a first-round bust. Now today, his days are numbered.
John Ross draft status
In college, John Ross wasn’t just known for his speed. At Washington, he showed great hands, great route running, unbelievable acceleration, and of course, his speed. Bucky Brooks rated John Ross as the number two wide receiver in the 2017 draft before the combine.
At the combine, he ran a 4.22/40. This broke the previous combine record, and this caught everyone’s attention. Basically, you can call this a flash of brilliance, but then he pulls up with an injury after his final run. A torn labrum festered throughout his rookie season.
Once the draft started, there wasn’t a clear-cut decision on who the ninth pick would be. The Cincinnati Bengals needed a speedy wide receiver, so they took Ross. They took Ross over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, who were in consideration, even with Andy Dalton going downhill.
Ross’s first play of his rookie season was a reverse, which resulted in a lost fumble. After just one mistake, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis benched him. Benching your number one draft pick after one negative play normally doesn’t happen. Marvin Lewis, for some reason, never liked rookie players.
The benching after just one play really played with his head. He never got a chance to make up for the negative play and just continued to dwell on it. Then he was put on IR and stayed in the doghouse for the rest of the season.
This so-called bust started to get a little recognition when he got healthy. It was a weird and wild year for Ross. Due to Ross’s speed, he was supposed to be a deep threat. This so-called deep threat then went out and scored seven red-zone touchdowns. Ross’s ability to get open in the red-zone made him even more valuable to the team.
Ross played 13 games for the Bengals in 2018. This was a huge deal for a player that has been injury prone since he left college. The 2018 season was the year he started to step up and show that sign of brilliance again. This was his build-up year that everyone hoped was leading to a breakout year in 2019. So, what happened?
At the start of the 2019 season, the breakout season was coming to life. Ross was the top receiver in the NFL after two games. In week one, he had seven catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns. In week two, he had four more catches for 112 yards and another touchdown. He also provided a major deep threat with a 55-yard reception in week one and a 66-yard reception in week two.
Ross showed that he is a truly talented player. He has shown a great set of hands and the ability to go long and score red-zone touchdowns. Everything seemed to be looking up for the Bengals young wideout.
The problem we all found out after week two is the inconsistency. He started dropping balls, and we are talking easy balls. It seemed as though lack of concentration crept in and was compounded by mental issues that may have stemmed from his rookie season.
Over the next two weeks, his targets decreased due to the drops that were piling up. Then he got injured and phased out of the offense completely.
Joe Burrow gives him last chance
This season first overall pick quarterback Joe Burrow was drafted. Maybe he could stop the bleeding of the first round bust of 2017. Could this finally be the breakout year? The hope was there with a new talented franchise signal-caller coming in. It has been anything but.
Ross looks scared to make a mistake. He seems uncertain and lacking confidence when he is on the field. He looks like he really doesn’t want to be out there.
After two weeks, he was benched. In weeks three, four, and five, he was listed as a healthy scratch. So they declined his fifth-year option in the offseason, and now he is a healthy scratch. The writing is on the wall that the future is no longer for this first round bust.
Time to trade the first round bust
Ross came out on Tuesday, saying he wants a fresh start. He still has an extreme amount of physical talent. A fresh start seems like his last chance to reach the potential he never did in Cincinnati. At this point, the Bengals have done all they could.
Ross has shown he can be an asset to a team. The Bengals might as well try to get something for him before the trade deadline. He will be a free agent at the end of the season and has no future with Cincy so there is n o reason to hold on.
Ross may be a first-round bust but should be granted a trade because he has so much untapped potential. Maybe a new team can tap into it. The Bengals have so many weapons at wide receiver there is no need to prolong this any more than necessary.
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