The Giants are taking a flier on receiver John Ross, the ninth overall pick by the Bengals in the 2017 draft and a player who has yet to live up to his pedigree.
The hope is that with the fresh start, Ross (assuming he makes the roster) can bring some additional speed to the planned downfield vertical passing game offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is trying to deploy more for 2021.
What He Brings
When it comes to straight-line speed, Ross, if healthy, might very well be one of if not the fastest players on the Giants roster.
A highly productive college receiver, Ross finished his three-year career at Washington--he tore his left ACL in the spring of 2015 and missed that entire season--with 114 receptions for 1,729 yards and 22 receiving touchdowns and 20 rushing attempts for 195 yards and two touchdowns.
Interestingly, Ross also had some kickoff return experience in college, where he returned 86 kickoffs for 2,069 yards (24.1 average) and four touchdowns.
All that production was good enough for Ross, who, by the way, dazzled with his 40-yard dash time in the combine--a then record-setting 4.22 seconds--to be chosen No nine overall by the Bengals in the 2017 draft.
Unfortunately, things went downhill for Ross once he got to the pros, primarily due to a combination of injuries and coaching decisions to deactivate him, especially in his rookie season.
In need of a fresh start, Ross signed with the Giants this off-season after the Bengals declined to pick up the fifth-year option in his rookie deal. He will look to break into a loaded Giants receiver lineup where the first four spots are projected to be filled by Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and rookie Kadarius Toney.
On paper, Ross would be an excellent fit for a Giants offense believed to be looking to do more vertical concepts. Line him up against a defensive back and watch him run.
New York Giants Week 3 Report Card: Detention Time
How did each Giants unit grade out following its 17-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons?
Instant Reaction: New York Giants Fail vs. Atlanta on Eli Manning Day
The Giants have big, big problems as they remain stuck in a rut they can't seem to break free of.
New York Giants Fall to Falcons 17-14 In Mistake-Filled, Ugly Game
Mistakes and missed opportunities doom Giants yet again as they fall to 0-3 on Eli Manning Day.
Where Ross's game, at least historically, has lacked include in contested catches, where, per PFF, he has a 29.4% contested catch rate, and in forcing missed tackles, a stat in which he has recorded just 10 in his career.
Oddly enough, despite some success in college as a return specialist, Ross has yet to partake on special teams in the NFL. If he's to have a legitimate chance at making the roster as the fifth receiver, one would think that special teams would be in his future in some capacity.
Ross received a one-year deal worth $2.250 million, including a $500,000 signing bonus and $1 million guaranteed. If he doesn't make the team, the Giants will save $838,235 on the salary cap.
Ross is not necessarily a lock for the 53-man roster, a big reason why being his lack of special teams snaps in the pros. The Giants already have a tight competition at the bottom of their depth chart at receiver, including C.J. Board, who can play some gunner; Austin Mack and David Sills V.
Thus far, Ross has seen most of his NFL snaps on the perimeter, but he also has experience playing in the slot. If fully healthy, he has the ability to take the top off of the defense.
That said, it's worth noting that he was limited during the spring practices open to the media, a situation that bears watching as we head into training camp and one that could further dent Ross's chances of making the 53-man roster.
Find all our training camp player previews in one spot. New profiles are added daily until we get to the end of the roster.
Join the Giants Country Community!