When the Raiders traded much-maligned and equally ineffective Jihad Ward, a chorus of praise erupted across the fanbase. The Dallas Cowboys willingly sent WR Ryan Switzer. Now, the second-round pick looms large, as it is an item that carries significant potential gain. On the other hand, Ryan Switzer presents the Raiders as an immediate plus to the 2018 team. The fact many view him as a throw-in should surprise you.
With Cooper and Nelson expected to operate the outside, the slot position remains open for possible snap for Switzer. Although he is quicker than fast, Switzer gets upfield in a hurry. Yet, do not expect go patterns and deep posts. If the Raiders use Switzer correctly, he will work underneath well. Option routes versus third and fourth corners should afford him the chance to make plays in this offense. Off the snap, Switzer brings a stutter step, which gives him the latitude to break either way, depending on coverage.
During his career at North Carolina, Switzer earned a reputation as a game-breaker returning punts. He ran back seven punts for touchdowns. As a rookie in Dallas, Switzer managed to take one the distance as well. Unlike some returners, Switzer does not gather to field kicks. That is to say, Switzer uses fluid motions to corral a punt. In addition, he keenly identifies teammates too close to the ball and prevents a touch.
Switzer’s arrival could mean the end for a pair of Raiders in 2018. Since Switzer provides a low cost slot option and receiver depth, Seth Roberts could find his way out. Despite 4.25 million in dead money, Switzer’s presence could send Roberts out of town. If you look at the depth chart, Cooper, Nelson, and Bryant occupy the top three. Moreover, rookie WR Marcell Ateman will figure in. How many fourth or fifth receivers earn 4.4 million dollars?
Moreover, if you look at Jalen Richard, Switzer’s skillset could make Richard expendable. Gruden’s offense looks more suited to a little more powerful back like Washington. As a result, Switzer’s ability in the return game minimizes Richard’s overall role. Because of multiple muffs, Richard could face a battle to keep his return job.
In reality, Ryan Switzer may not pan out in Oakland. However, he presents the Raiders with enough upside that will challenge roster spots, confuse defenses, and force personnel decisions.