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NFL Mock Draft 2017: New name for Bengals in Round 1

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The Bengals may go receiver with their first pick, but this is a name that’s been rarely mentioned for the team...until the NFL Combine.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest winners of the NFL Scouting Combine was John Ross.

The Washington Huskies receiver lit up the combine with a record-breaking performance in the 40-yard dash. Ross was clocked at 4.22 seconds in the 40-yard dash on Saturday, breaking Chris Johnson's previous record of 4.24.

That has Ross as the talk of the draft, and it also has his stock soaring enough that he’s now projected as a top-10 pick in some mock drafts. That includes SB Nation’s latest mock, which has Ross landing in Cincinnati at No. 9:

9. Cincinnati Bengals: John Ross, WR, Washington

Maybe this is overreacting, but the top priority for the Bengals this offseason is getting speed at wide receiver and defensive end. Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis would get some consideration here, but Ross’ speed fits perfectly into Cincinnati’s offense, but he’s much more nuanced as a receiver.

Ross is a flat-out playmaker who can make a major impact on offense and special teams. He had three kickoffs returned for touchdowns over his first two collegiate seasons while catching five scores.

This past season, Ross caught 81 passes for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns. The negative with Ross is that he will undergo shoulder surgery on March 14. He also missed the 2015 season at Washington after suffering a torn ACL during a spring practice earlier that year, so he’s already pretty banged up coming into the NFL.

I like Ross, but No. 9 is high for a guy like him, especially with Clemson’s Mike Williams and Western Michigan’s Corey Davis still on the board. And it’s not like this is such a big need that the Bengals should go out of their way to spend the No. 9 pick on a receiver. This receiver class is deep enough that there should be a good pass catcher sitting there on the board early in Round 2.

There’s just too many other pressing needs for the Bengals that need to be addressed with the No. 9 pick, not to mention there should be some great players on the board that can fill those needs. This seems like a post-Combine craze and not where Ross is likely to land in the NFL Draft.