The Chicago Bears don’t have a pick in the first two rounds of the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft, so they’ll need to be creative in their attempts to land potential impact talent. And because salary cap space is tight, GM Ryan Pace is likely to explore alternate avenues in which to to find such a player.
Perhaps a former first-round pick who could use a change of scenery fits the bill here:
Two years ago, top WR prospect John Ross set fire to the Combine with his 40 time. Now, sources say the #Bengals are shopping their former first rounder. A fresh start would be welcome by both parties, sounds like.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 26, 2019
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reports the Cincinnati Bengals have wide receiver John Ross on the trading block. And as fate would have it, the Bears have reportedly checked in regarding Ross’ availability via trade. Troy Pauline of DraftAnalyst.commentioned the Bears as an inquiring team in a recent podcast episode you can check out here. And it makes sense if you put your mind to it.
Ross was a first-round pick in 2017 after a stellar junior season in 2016 at Washington. He hauled in 81 passes, gained 1,150 receiving yards, and scored a whopping 17 touchdowns. It all added up to Ross earning a spot on the All-Pac-12 first team and the conference’s Player of the Year in 2016. Ross was also a four-star recruit coming out high school, so there is some real prospect pedigree to be considered here, even if his brief pro career has yet to yield desired results.
The Bengals chose Ross with the ninth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and they were hoping they were getting a speedster with big-play potential. Instead, Ross has 21 catches, 210 yards, and 7 touchdowns to his name in two seasons. And to think, all of that production came last season because he was held without a catch as a rookie after being targeted just twice in three games.
And despite all that, Ross is probably best known for breaking Chris Johnson’s record time in the 40-yard dash by finishing in 4.22 seconds. Leading up to the 2017 draft, ESPN and Sports Illustrated both ranked Ross among the class’ three best receiver prospects.
Kevin White and Joshua Bellamy are free-agents-to-be and the Bears could be in the market to add a different element to the back end of that depth chart. It’s possible Chicago believes Ross’ top-end speed needs a new track to run on in order to get the most out of his untapped potential. If that’s the case and the price is right, then acquiring Ross could present a different way to address a perceived need without risking much.