Coach Zac Taylor said he'll see what Ross can put on tape, noting that the 24-year-old wide receiver was "electric" in college, Geoff Hobson of the Bengals' official site reports. Ross has the opportunity to prove himself under a new coaching staff, but the fresh start won't mean much if he struggles during the offseason program and training camp. While competition for the No. 3 wide receiver spot isn't exactly fierce based on the current construction of the Cincinnati roster, there's still plenty of time for the team to add bodies before Week 1. Bengals executive Duke Tobin shot down trade rumors about moving Ross back in February, saying the team hadn't engaged in any internal or external discussions regarding a trade. The No. 9 overall pick from the 2017 draft played just three games as a rookie, then posted a baffling 21-210-7 receiving line (58 targets, 3.6 YPT) in 13 games last season. Ross needs to find success on deep passes to stay relevant, as his conversion rate on targets inside the 10-yard line (five of six went for scores) was really the only thing that went right for him last season.
Bengals executive Duke Tobin said the team hasn't engaged in any internal or external discussions about trading Ross, Geoff Hobson of the team's official site reports. Tobin didn't mince his words, denying a Monday report that the team is trying to find a trade for the No. 9 overall pick from the 2017 NFL Draft. Ross had one of the more unusual stat lines in recent memory during the 2018 season, scoring seven touchdowns on 21 receptions despite his abysmal marks for both yards per target (3.6) and catch rate (36.2 percent). The 24-year-old scored five times on six targets inside the 10-yard line, and his record-breaking speed (4.22 40-yard dash time) theoretically should open up more room for A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd on intermediate routes. Regardless, it's hard to see Ross emerging as anything more than the fourth or fifth option in Cincinnati's offense when all the key players are available.
The Bengals are looking to trade Ross, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. The No. 9 overall pick from the 2017 draft has been a clear disappointment, playing three games as a rookie and then producing just 210 yards on 58 targets (3.6 average) in 13 appearances this past season. He's only 23 years old and is one of the fastest players in the league, but his lengthy medical record and slight frame (190 pounds) have been major concerns all along. Ross did have seven touchdowns among his 21 receptions in 2018, including five scores on six targets inside the 10-yard line. Given the potential for red-zone contributions in addition to a field-stretching element, Ross could fetch a middle-round pick even if there isn't much hope he ever develops into a high-volume receiver. The Bengals are in good shape at the position with A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd, though they don't have an obvious replacement for the No. 3 job.
Ross only corralled one of his five targets during Sunday's 26-18 loss to Cleveland, but that reception went for a three-yard touchdown. He added seven rushing yards on one carry. The 2017 No. 9 overall pick has been entirely touchdown-dependent this season. But the thing is, he just keeps on scoring touchdowns. (A completely unsustainable 35 percent of his receptions, and 13.2 percent of his targets have gone for scores.) Ross has garnered a healthy 5.3 targets per game over his past seven outings, but has posted an incredibly inefficient catch rate of 35.1 percent during that span. He hasn't been the deep threat that he was during his collegiate career at Washington (15.2 yards per catch), averaging 10.8 YPC on the season, with eight performances of fewer than 17 receiving yards. Week 17 presents a challenging matchup for Ross, with the Bengals opposing a Ravens defense that's surrendered 10 touchdowns to WRs in 2018 (third fewest).
Ross (knee) practiced fully Friday and doesn't carry an injury designation into Sunday's game against the Browns. With fellow wideout Tyler Boyd (knee) having been ruled out and A.J. Green on injured reserve, Ross heads into the weekend as the Bengals' top option at his position. Given Jeff Driskel's underwhelming numbers as the Bengals' starting quarterback, however, it's expected that a heavy dose of running back Joe Mixon will be on tap Sunday. That context makes the speedy Ross a hit-or-miss, touchdown-dependent option in fantasy lineups. Through 11 games, the 2017 first-round pick has caught 19 of his 48 targets for 206 yards and six scores.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/15||San Francisco 49ers||30||26.13|
|8||10/27||@Los Angeles Rams||19||22.05|
|13||12/01||New York Jets||32||27.38|
|15||12/15||New England Patriots||14||21.68|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||30||10||105||4||6||10.50||35|