Despite a promising offseason, John Ross has failed to deliver expectations for what is looking to be the second year in a row.
In spite of his 4.22 second time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, Ross only has five receptions on seven targets with only 27 yards. The two incompletions on his record resulted in two interceptions, both plays where it looked like Ross didn’t finish on the route.
But he has one huge supporter that will be in attendance on Sunday in Atlanta.
“I love his game,” Ocho Cinco admitted.
“I mean, (4.22) seconds?” Johnson explains, “Who does that? Can you imagine? He can just fly.”
Johnson believes what Ross is going through is purely mental. Ross obviously has the physical talent to be a great NFL wideout. The problem, Johnson says, is confidence.
The Chiefs’ speedster Tyreek Hill comes to mind when Johnson thinks about Ross.
“Similar skill set,” Johnson said. “There’s no reason he shouldn’t be playing like that. Is Tyreek Hill that much better than John? No. It’s just the mentality. The speed is already there. It’s about applying it and just going out there and being a dog.”
While Ross and Hill have similar physical skills, Ross needs to take on the mentality of another NFL great.
“He’s got to be a dog,” says Johnson. “The guy I think about is Steve Smith. Steve Smith didn’t care about anything but just going out and being a dog. That’s all he needs. He’s got to be thinking, ‘When I get the ball, I’m gone. I’m out of here.’ Every time he touches it, he’s got to be thinking ‘House Call.’”
Johnson had a similar experience early on in his career. After dropping a crucial catch in a tight game in his second season, Johnson went on to make the Pro Bowl this year.
With the Bengals traveling to Atlanta this week, only a few hours from Johnson’s residence in Miami, the former Bengals will get a chance to talk to the young prospect. Johnson probably got his tickets from another former Bengal, Mohammed Sanu, who will play against his old team for the first time since leaving as a free agent in the 2015 offseason.
Johnson will get a chance to talk to Ross this weekend, and be able to relay his message in person.
“He can get it. He can get that kind of mentality,” Johnson said. “That’s what I’ll tell him.”