This article is part of our Job Battles series.
This is the last of the training camp competition previews, and starting Monday the series will be more about in-camp developments as injuries and other developments mount. You can see the QB, RB, and WR pt. 1 previews in prior publications of this article.
John Ross is one of the most perplexing recent cases in the NFL, and whether you see any hope for him in the long term probably is subject to your interpretation of Marvin Lewis' fitness for coaching. Lewis left Ross as a healthy scratch for most of last year and then experimented with moving the ninth overall pick to cornerback late in the year while playing fellow rookie Josh Malone and plodding veteran Brandon LaFell ahead of him. This was negligent on Lewis' part – Ross is the best player of the three and Lewis' cold reception toward him was out of some petty, misguided effort to convey some sort of culture war point about proper practice etiquette or some such stupid thing. The problem for a Ross optimist is that Lewis is still in Cincinnati, but perhaps he'll look like something other than a coach trying to sabotage his own team now that he has a new contract.
If Ross can't displace LaFell, then it would be bad news for Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati offense. LaFell turns 32 in November and is coming off a year where he totaled just 52 receptions for 548