AFC North Q&A: Who will be tougher on defenses: Joe Mixon or John Ross?

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The Cincinnati Bengals drafted two home-run hitters in running back Joe Mixon and receiver John Ross. ESPN's AFC North reporters weighed in on which one will cause defenses more problems as rookies.

Jeremy Fowler, ESPN's Pittsburgh Steelers reporter: Let's go with Mixon, who has a chance to be the best running back from this draft over the next few years. Jeremy Hill hasn't been a decisive or aggressive runner the past two years, and with Gio Bernard battling injuries, Mixon will be the feature back soon enough. His combination of size (6-foot-1, 226) and speed (4.4 40) is well-suited for the AFC North. His game reminds me a bit of Le'Veon Bell. Ross is the home run hitter the Bengals need opposite A.J. Green,but he has battled injuries in recent years, and his size (5-foot-11, 188) isn't ideal for an outside receiver. Not that he can't be successful early in his career, but Mixon has a clearer path to a big rookie season.

Pat McManamon, ESPN's Cleveland Browns reporter: Rookie receivers don't often make large impacts, but the Bengals have an exception to that general statement. A.J. Green was outstanding as a rookie (1,057 yards and seven touchdowns with a rookie quarterback), and he has been outstanding since. For that reason, Ross will benefit. As long as Green plays and is healthy, he will command double coverage and defensive emphasis. That opens up the field for other players, which should help Ross overcome the rookie challenges. He might not put up Green-like numbers, but if his talent is real he'll present more of a challenge to defenses than Mixon, who figures to share time and carries with Jeremy Hill.

Jamison Hensley, ESPN's Baltimore Ravens reporter: I'm going with John Ross, even though history says it takes wide receivers longer to adjust to the NFL than running backs. The reasoning is the fastest player in this year's draft will be getting single coverage. All of the defensive attention will remain on wide receiver A.J. Green. The second priority of the pass defense is to stop tight end Tyler Eifert. This is going to free up Ross, who was tied for first among Power 5 receivers with 17 touchdown catches in 2016 and ended the season with 81 catches for 1,150 yards. Look at the production of the Bengals' No. 2 receivers behind Green: Brandon LaFell (64 catches for 862 yards in 2016) and Marvin Jones (65 receptions for 816 yards in 2015). That's the type of impact Ross should make.