If you want to compare him to a fancy sports car, you might consider John Ross to be a McLaren or a Bugatti, among the fastest non-racing cars in the world. Speed gets you opportunity in the NFL, and it got Ross drafted No. 9 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Look, though, at Ross’s NFL career and you’d probably compare him to a Smart car. There’s a lot missing. Less than 800 yards receiving over four seasons and way too much time spent in the shop undergoing repairs — only 27 regular-season games played out of a potential 64.
The Giants, searching under every rock for play makers after finishing 31st in the league in points scored last season, are giving Ross an opportunity. Will he take advantage of it?
Let’s take a closer look at Ross as we continue our player-by-player look at the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.
Position: Wide receiver
Contract: One-year, $2.25 million | Guaranteed: $1 million | 2021 cap hit: $1.838 million
Career to date
Ross’s struggle with injuries began long before his NFL career. He missed the 2015 season at Washington with a torn ACL. He suffered a shoulder injury at the end of his final collegiate season that required surgery.
In his rookie year with Cincinnati, he suffered knee and shoulder injuries that limited him to three games. The only season during which Ross has managed to play in double-digit games is 2018, when he appeared in 13. He had a clavicle injury in 2019 and a foot injury in 2020.
Ross has only 51 receptions on 123 targets over four seasons, an awful catch percentage of 41.5. He has never caught more than 50 percent of balls thrown his way in a single season. He did catch 28 passes (3.5 per game) and average 18.1 yards per catch in 2019. He has a career passer rating when targeted of just 67.6.
The Giants likely are not looking for efficiency from Ross. That’s what Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Kyle Rudolph are for. What they want from Ross are a handful of explosive plays.
Of course, he has to stay healthy to provide them. He also has to make the 53-man roster. Neither are a given.
Ross faces stiff competition for a roster spot from Dante Pettis [profile], Austin Mack [profile], C.J. Board [profile] and perhaps even guys like Kelvin Benjamin [profile] or David Sills.
In my post-minicamp roster projection, I have Pettis in and Ross out. In the competition for the last one or two receiver spots, though, anything can happen.