New Bengals head coach Zac Taylor says he wants to give wide receiver John Ross a “fresh start” according to Geoff Hobson of bengals.com.
“Some of these players with what they’ve done in the past, it’s good for a fresh start with a new coaching staff,” was Taylor’s exact quote. “Let’s see what he can put on tape. He was electric in college.”
“In college” is the perfect qualifier for Ross as he has thus far found little success in the NFL. Ross electrified the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine with his blazing speed, convincing the Bengals to make him the No.9-overall pick out of the University of Washington despite his fragile frame (%’!!”, 190 lbs.) and extensive injury history.
That injury history followed him to the NFL and made his rookie season a virtual washout, as he appeared in only three games and did not catch a single pass.
2018 was somewhat better as he caught 21 passes for 210 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games but he still seemed like mostly an afterthought in the Bengals offense. Even worse, former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and his staff seemed to give up on Ross very early, which can’t have done much for his confidence.
And there have been trade rumors all offseason, even though the Bengals would likely get little value in return at this juncture.
It is way too early to give up on Ross considering that he is still only 23 years old and still possesses that speed. But 2019 will be a crucial year for him and he tries to learn the new offensive scheme and impress the new coaching staff. Ross probably won’t be playing for his roster spot this summer, but he is one of the Bengals most on the spot.