PHILADELPHIA – With the No. 9 pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected John Ross, a wide receiver from Washington.
Here's some information on Ross' draft profile from NFL.com:
Ross was just getting started on his way to stardom in Washington when he tore his left ACL in the spring of 2015. He had become known as a kick returner (three TDs in 2013-14) and big-play receiver in limited touches (16-208, TD in 2013; 17-371, 4 TD in 2014) before having to redshirt his third year at UW. In fact, coaches liked Ross' athleticism so much he started three games at cornerback (INT, two pass breakups) in a season he gained honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors. In his return to the field in 2016, Ross became a star, garnering second-team All-American honors and first-team All-Pac-12 accolades with 81 catches for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns (tied for second in the nation).
Has home-run gear to yank the top off of defenses. Vertical speed demands respect and creates open throws underneath. Corners open hips early to turn and sprint, leaving his curl and dig routes unchallenged. Feet are fire. On verticals from the slot, sells the corner route and stems to the post with a burst for easy separation and a comfortable throwing window for the quarterback. Hands are generally solid. Plus hand-eye coordination. Natural ball-tracker who locates the deep ball early and watches it. Dangerous show-and-go open-field ability after the catch. Able to win with slants or fades near the goal line. Eludes the first tackler and can turn a short one into a long one in a heartbeat. Has enough size to work from outside or from the slot. Saw four of his eight carries go for 15-plus yards. Has returned at least one kickoff for a touchdown in each of his three years at Washington.
Undersized with below-average play strength. Struggled to get into his routes cleanly and impact the game against the physical cornerbacks at Alabama. Weight will creep too far out over his toes at times. Tape shows occasional stumbles over nothing but turf in his routes and after the catch. Needs to do better job of working back to the throw. Has to learn to make contested catches. Will need to sharpen his short and intermediate routes to become a true three-level target. Has had a major injury to both knees. The long-term health of both knees will be a concern that has to be answered at the combine.
Draft projection: Round 1
NFL comparison: DeSean Jackson
Ross is an instant-impact weapon who scored 23 touchdowns in just 112 touches. He should be able to step right in as a kick returner and a slot receiver, but teams with speed at tight end might utilize him outside to create extreme vertical stress on opposing safeties. If his knees check out as healthy, Ross is a likely first-round pick with the rare ability to become a high-volume slot receiver or a lesser-targeted, high-yield deep-ball threat.
-- Lance Zierlein