With the summer in full swing and NFL training camps less than two months away now, we gathered our Cincy Jungle staff to rank the top 25 Bengals of the 2020 season.
This ranking is simply who we believe are the 25 best Bengals heading into next season. It includes veterans and rookies alike, though it obviously is more favorable of players who’ve actually played snaps in the NFL, so don’t expect guys like Joe Burrow to be a top-five player right off the bat.
For a recap of the list, check out our stream here.
Next on our list is a receiver who many fans have been down on, but this could be the season we see him reach his potential.
No. 18 John Ross, wide receiver
Ross leads little introduction. He was the ninth overall pick in 2017, and he has struggled to reach the expectations that come along with that. You can contribute those struggles with injuries, lack of confidence from last coaching staff and just a general tanking in confidence.
The video above shows Ross’ career day to start off the 2019 campaign. Even on that day he struggled with a few frustrating drops. There have been a number of people quick to label Ross as a bust, but he has had quite the impact on this offense when he is on the field.
First drive shows an example of Ross's speed helping to open the field for others. He demands that the FS stay deep with him and it leaves the middle of the field open. pic.twitter.com/ejqDPr3VLt— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) September 24, 2018
This isn’t to say that Ross justifies his draft status by having plays like that. However, one reason Ross is so high here is because of the expected bump a guy like Joe Burrow will have. That isn’t to insinuate that Andy Dalton didn’t give Ross ample opportunities. It is more that Burrow has this way of making everyone around him more confident, which is exactly what Ross needs.
Not to mention Burrow excels at extending plays with his legs and making throws on the run. That only helps a guy like Ross who is going to be given tons of cushion to roam around the field freely while the play is extended. He also was extremely accurate on deep passes, and he also showed a great anticipation on those throws as well.
The elephant in the room is still Ross staying healthy. He went down in 2019 with a clavicle injury that only allowed him to play in eight games after a stint on injured reserve. He has only played in 24 games over three seasons. It is unfortunate, because Ross’ health concerns coincides with A.J. Green’s. Neither have really shared the field much at all, and it seemed like they were meant to play off of each other, but that never really materialized.
The hope here is that we get to see Ross get 16 games in with a loaded set of skill position players, or at the very least play the majority of games. It will be interesting to see how much better a year under Zac Taylor’s system and with Burrow as the quarterback tossing him passes.
This is Ross’ best chance to finally show everyone the caliber of player he is capable of being. Will his last year be his best year?