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Bengals take 40-yard dash champion John Ross

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PHILADELPHIA -- Desperate to improve their depleted receiving corps and pair A.J. Green with another deep-ball wide receiver, the Bengals selected Washington wide receiver John Ross with the No. 9 overall pick on Thursday.

Ross, who broke the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine in March with a 4.22-second run, is the sixth Washington Husky to be taken in the first round and the first since Browns defensive tackle Danny Shelton back in 2015. Ross hauled in 22 touchdowns over a three-year career in the Pacific Northwest, including a stunning 17 this past year.

This is the first time the Bengals have taken a receiver in round one since Green.

While Ross has a lengthy injury history -- NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock noted that some teams had removed them from their boards altogether after a labrum surgery in March and prior procedures on his knee -- he may also be the draft's most explosive player. This was a risk Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis needed to take after watching his team dip to 22nd in explosive plays in 2016. The 6-9-1 Bengals had a litany of needs, but diversifying their offense was near the top.

On paper, this is now one of the more formidable set of skill players in football. Alongside Green and Ross, Cincinnati will line up 2016 second-round pick Tyler Boyd and touchdown machine Tyler Eifert. Should Ross fold into the new offense tidily, this will be a significant gift for maligned quarterback Andy Dalton.

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