Now that the 2019 NFL Draft is underway, and the roster heading into the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we head toward training camp.
Player: WR Ryan Switzer
Stock Value: Up
I don’t know exactly what his roster prospects are. If I were to guess, I do feel as though the team likes both Ryan Switzer and Eli Rogers enough to carry both as the fifth and sixth wide receivers this year, in whatever order they fall into. And one of them will probably start ahead of Diontae Johnson to begin the year, maybe even getting some third-receiver snaps.
What I do know is that Switzer, entering his third season and experiencing just his first offseason in Pittsburgh despite playing for them all of last year, has done a lot for himself over the last few months that have helped entrench him into the city of Pittsburgh.
One thing that he’s done has been to really focus on his strength. If you’ve seen any of his workout pictures, then you know what I’m talking about. Wide receivers that short should not be that ripped. If his strength can help him break some tackles and churn out more yards after the catch, that would really pay dividends for both himself and the team, especially if he continues to receive a very high volume of shallow targets, as he did last year.
The interesting thing to me is that he truly feels as though he is at home here in Pittsburgh, in spite of the fact that he has only been here for about 10 months, having arrived in late August of last year when the team traded for him from the Oakland Raiders in a swap of mid-round draft picks.
It was the second time of the offseason that he had been traded, the Raiders previously acquiring him in April from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for Jihad Ward, who didn’t even make their team. By the time he was traded to Pittsburgh, he was feeling dejected, but the city and the team seemed to rejuvenate him in some way, and he has responded by embracing Pittsburgh and being vocal about it as well.
Having an actual offseason to work with and get to know everybody should be a big deal, too. Though he liked throwing to Eli Rogers once he got back for the final three weeks, Ben Roethlisberger also clearly took favor to Switzer as well. That on- and off-field relationship should only strengthen this year, provided that he makes the 53-man roster. I’m guessing Roethlisberger will push for the team to keep him (or whoever the sixth wide receiver would be) if it came down to it.