Combine star John Ross goes ninth to Bengals, the third WR drafted in top nine

Shutdown Corner

The top of the NFL draft had a theme: Offense, offense, offense. It was a particularly good night for the elite receivers.

There might have been some surprise when Corey Davis went fifth overall to the Tennessee Titans. Mike Williams going seventh to the Los Angeles Chargers seemed about right, though maybe a bit high. And then John Ross going ninth overall to the Cincinnati Bengals really sent the message: It’s a passing league, and wide receivers matter.

Ross, who broke the official NFL scouting combine record in the 40-yard dash, gives Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton another interesting option. Ross is not just a speedster; Ross is a very good football player and a complete receiver. With A.J. Green on the other side and Tyler Eifert at tight end, the Bengals all of a sudden have a very dangerous passing game.

The flurry of offensive moves early in the draft made sense. Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers went with seven of the first 10 picks of the draft. Considering Christian McCaffrey can line up just about anywhere on the field, you might even say receivers went with four of the top nine picks. In fact, when Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis announced that McCaffrey went to the Panthers eighth overall he initially said McCaffrey was a receiver, but it’s an understandable mistake given McCaffrey’s versatility. He can do it all. That’s why he got into the top 10.

The NFL long ago became a passing league, and that trend will continue to grow. Quarterbacks will always be king. But you need players to catch those passes. All you had to do was watch the first hour or so of the NFL draft to see how the value of receivers keeps rising.

The Bengals drafted receiver John Ross ninth overall. (AP)
The Bengals drafted receiver John Ross ninth overall. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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