Film Room: Bengals WR John Ross is more than just a burner

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    John Ross might have been better off if he never set the NFL Combine record in the 40 yard dash. For some reason , it seems like people see that he accomplished that feat and think that is all he is: just another speedster and not a complete player. Those people are wrong. Ross is an extremely talented route runner who has excellent hands. His speed is merely the icing on the cake. As he returns from a rookie campaign defined by injury, can he have the sophomore bump that William Jackson experienced in 2017? Ross’s athleticism is not just about speed. In the clip below he taps his feet and postures himself as if he is going for an inside release. This causes the cornerback’s feet to get wide and allows Ross to release to the outside, unaccosted and gives the quarterback enough space to put the ball to Ross’ outside shoulder.It takes more than just speed to get open in the NFL. Fortunately Ross is a skilled route runner. In the clip below the Washington product stems his route to the outside and flashes his shoulders. This causes the defensive back (most likely terrified of Ross’ speed) to break on an out-cutting route that wasn’t coming. Ross places himself just inside the defender and takes his route up the seams for a touchdown.Ross is not just fast, he is quick. Here in the Bengals’ preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys, Ross lowers his hips and chops his feet to make an inside cut. He has the burst to create separation quickly giving the quarrterback a window to make the throw. Ross takes a shot from the safety at the end, but holds onto the ball for a two-point conversion giving the Bengals the lead. In the two clips below, Ross demonstrates his ability to adjust to poor ball placement. In the clip against Cal (in blue) he gets adjusted to the low pass and makes the reception in the end zone. In the clip against Utah (in red) he not only adjusts to the pass thrown behind him, but still managers to beat the three nearby defenders into the end zone.Ross also has excellent hands, but in the clip below he only needed one. As his quarterback was in trouble and threw up a prayer, Ross goes up vertically and pulls the ball down with one hand. As if this wasn’t impressive enough, he turns it up field for a touchdown. This is the kind of playmaker the Bengals have been looking to put opposite A.J. Green.Making a tough catch isn’t always about doing something ridiculous athletically as was the case above.In the clip below, Ross has a defender hanging on him, but keeps his eyes on the ball and comes down with the touchdown catch.With speed like Ross’ he will be hard for defenders to catch in the open field, even if they have a good angle. Here, Ross shows that he also has the agility and vision to makedefenders who are in front of him miss. In the Bengals’ third preseason game, fans finally saw the connection they have been waiting to see since the team drafted Ross in 2017: Dalton to Ross. Ross showed incredible agility to make two defenders miss and find his way into the endzone. Ross’ athleticism holds up against NFL competition. In the clip below from the Bengals’ first preseason game this year, Ross jukes the Chicago defender to turn a short gain into a long one that set up a touchdown. The Bengals didn’t just draft Ross to catch deep balls, they drafted him to makes plays after the catch and he has shown he can do just that.Ross may be the fastest man in the history of the NFL Combine, but he is so much more than that. He runs very good routes and has excellent ball skills. If he can emerge as the Bengals’ No. 2 receiver, the offense could be extremely prolific in 2018.6 best available offensive linemen the Bengals should consider after roster cuts The Bengals 53-man roster has been announced, but it won’t be the final iteration before the team plays the Colts on Sunday.Head coach Marvin Lewis has said that the team is looking at cornerbacks on the waiver wire, but they should also be looking for potential upgrades along the offensive line , too. The Bengals have nine linemen who made the team, but the guard and tackle spots are still very shaky in regards to depth and the starters on the right side aren’t much better. Both Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher made the team as backups, and Trey Hopkins is currently the backup at both the center and right guard spots. There is still plenty of room to improve, if the right talent is available.But the Bengals also let a few quality players go at other positions, and a good number of other franchises had to liquidate some young offensive line talent who could benefit from a fresh start. There are a handful of players cut on Saturday who come to mind as targets for the Bengals at the offensive guard and offensive tackle positions:Colby Gossett, OG (Vikings)A Senior Bowl standout from this past January, Gossett let his name be known from just beyond the Appalachian State airwaves. The Vikings took a chance on Gossett in the sixth-round of the draft, and cut him with the hopes he would return to their practice squad.A practice squad destiny was likely for the small school standout, but Gossett could be a hot name around the league, and would benefit the Bengals’ practice squad as well.Sean Harlow, OG (Falcons)The Falcons have one of the better offensive lines in the league, and their fourth-round pick from last year’s draft would’ve been a solid depth piece behind a group that has no weak links in Atlanta. Unfortunately, the Falcons made Harlow one of their first cuts on Friday.Harlow came into the league as an athletic interior player at 304 pounds. He’s now listed as 284 pounds, but being only 23 years young, he can add some weight back. 32” arms will likely prevent him from getting much bigger, but the athletic swing blocker who got a lot of work at right guard this preseason has plenty to give for potentially someone else. Could that be the Bengals?Nico Siragusa, OG (Ravens)The victim of a terrible knee injury last offseason, Siragusa (no relation to former Baltimore defensive tackle Tony Siragusa) fought his way back to the field this preseason, but just hasn’t looked the same as before his injury. He was ultimately let go, despite his fourth-round draft status from last year.Siragusa is arguably the most talented of these players, and has a nice blend of quickness and size at 6-4, 330 pounds. If he is given time on a roster or practice squad to fully recover Youth William Jackson Jersey , he could become a valuable asset to a team that needs guard help, like the Bengals.Isaac Asiata, OG (Dolphins)Like Harlow and Gossett, Asiata is a likely candidate to return to his team via the practice squad, but his talent and youth could take him elsewhere.Asiata has played exclusively at left guard for Miami this preseason, and has yet to take a snap in regular season play after being drafted in the fifth-round last season. Miami added Josh Sitton to start at left guard, but he still had a chance to start at right guard. But like the Bengals’ Christian Westerman, Asiata never saw work over there. He can help a franchise.Jonathan Cooper, OG (49ers)Now we’re getting to know cast-offs. Cooper was made a top-10 pick in the 2013 draft by the Cardinals due to his athleticism, but has yet to stick anywhere he’s been. After an injury-riddled start with Arizona, he spent a season with Cleveland in 2016, Dallas in 2017, and joined the 49ers this offseason before getting cut.Odds are Cooper will never stick as a starter, but he’s worth at least considering due to what was once there for him and what they Bengals have now.Cyrus Kouandjio, OT (Broncos)Kouandjio has had a very similar career arc to Cooper. After missing his rookie year in 2013 he didn’t finish his rookie contract with the Bills and was picked up last year by the Lions, who also cut him that year before he was picked up by the Broncos. Playing exclusively at left tackle this preseason, Kouandjio was included in Denver’s final cuts and is still only 25-years-old. His next stop could be his last, but he still would be better than the guys the Bengals have at tackle right now, other than Cordy Glenn.

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