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John Ross won’t participate in OTAs; Joe Mixon needs to get into shape

The Bengals’ top two picks have some issues they’re dealing with that shouldn’t be serious in the long term this coming season.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-John Ross Press Conference Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals are holding a rookie minicamp this weekend for their newest class of draft picks and undrafted free agents.

However, first-round pick John Ross will not be working (on-the-field) this weekend, and it doesn’t sound like we’ll see him in action in June either. On Friday, head coach Marvin Lewis revealed that Ross is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, which is expected to keep him out for all of the OTAs.

Regardless of his injury, Ross attended Washington, which is a school that runs on a quarter system, and those players are not allowed to take part in NFL workouts (other than rookie minicamp) until the school year and graduation are complete. That will be on June 10. So after this weekend, don’t expect to see Ross around in Cincinnati until mid-June.

Along with tearing his ACL in 2015, Ross endured a torn meniscus the year prior, which required two surgeries, including microfracture surgery. His injuries were enough that some NFL teams were not interested in drafting him at all. The Bengals, however, were very confident that his health wouldn’t be an issue in the pros, which is why they spent a top-10 selection on him.

Another rookie with a small issue is second-round pick Joe Mixon. He’s battling a simple case of being out of football shape, though Lewis understands why.

Most prospects would have spent the last four months doing a combination of working out and visiting teams, but for Mixon, a lot of his time was spent on lengthy visits, since more than half of teams wanted to personally meet with him.

He’s easily one of the 10-20 best talents in this draft, but his major character concerns had teams doing extra homework on him, which meant extra traveling for Mixon, as opposed to staying in football shape.

The good news is Mixon is still working this weekend at the OTAs, is healthy and ready to work.

As long Ross is in Cincinnati and ready to work for the start of training camp, no one will remember he didn’t take part in OTAs. Both Ross and Mixon figure to have major roles in the Bengals’ offense this season, which could be what propels this team back into the postseason.