San Francisco 49ers: 4 offensive sleepers to target in free agency

John Ross #11 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
John Ross #11 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross (11) Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers Sleeper Free-Agent No. 1: Wide Receiver John Ross

The Cincinnati Bengals have little reason to retain their high-profile pick from the 2017 NFL Draft, wide receiver John Ross, since he has essentially been replaced on the depth chart by other wideouts like Tee Higgins.

Ross was all but a forgotten commodity in Cincy last year, having just two receptions for 17 yards, and it’s pretty apparent he needs a complete change of scenery. And while some could call into question his skill set, that 4.22 40-yard time from his NFL Combine won’t go away anytime soon.

The 49ers have lacked that elite-level speed threat ever since trading away their former speedster, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, last offseason. And while having a quarterback with a good enough arm makes the deep-threat speed much more potent, it takes two factors to make the whole thing work.

A player like Ross would be one part of the equation to help open up things elsewhere on the field.

On top of that, Ross’ drop in production from a merely OK third year the season before would make him an awfully cheap commodity.

Even if he was nothing more than a gadget-type player in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, it’s pretty easy to envision creative ways the head coach could use Ross as a legitimate deep threat.

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