Now that training camp is underway, and the roster for 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 move forward.
Player: WR Ryan Switzer
Stock Value: Down
Donte Moncrief would be too easy right now. Ben Roethlisberger, due to injury, would be too easy right now. I would even do Devin Bush, who gave up a couple of touchdowns yesterday. But I’m going with Ryan Switzer, who is competing with Moncrief to become the most expendable among six wide receivers on the 53-man roster.
Let’s simply start with the fact that he muffed a punt. After he did that, the coaches pulled the plug on that, replacing him with rookie Diontae Johnson, who continued to return punts for the remainder of the game. Switzer continued to handle kickoffs, but they all went for touchbacks.
And, as though it needs to be said, if he loses his return man job, he may lose his helmet as well. Possibly even a roster spot. As a third-year player, he is easier to get rid of because his base salary doesn’t become guaranteed the way it would for Moncrief.
For somebody who is supposed to be very elusive, Switzer hasn’t exactly been leaving defenders in his wake. He caught one pass on Sunday and gained a whopping zero yards because he couldn’t break one tackle.
And last week? Sure, he caught six passes on six targets. But he got 29 yards on them. So he has 29 yards on seven receptions this year. That’s an average of 4.1 yards per reception. Running backs average more than that per rush.
There was a two-play sequence last week with the Steelers running out of a five-receiver set, Switzer hidden under Diontae Johnson on the right side. Roethlisberger threw to him two plays in a row. He was wide open the first time for eight yards. On the second, they covered the play and he was tackled after a one-yard gain.
He’s simply not making any plays or getting anything that is not readily available to him. He is not creating anything, and he has done nothing as a returner, either. 80 percent or more of kickoffs end in touchbacks, anyway, so it’s not like that’s an overly valuable role at this point.