Now that the 2020 offseason has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, 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 season, and with notice to anything that happens going forward.
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: Up
Man, he really seems to crop up anywhere Ben Roethlisberger is, doesn’t he? Even under quarantine, he’s around, as the quarterback recently confirmed—though they practice social distancing. Switzer is about the only person that Roethlisberger has been seen with since the season ended.
Like his quarterback, he finished the 2019 season on injured reserve, but he was already receiving minimal offensive playing time before he was injured, and he was already practicing again by the time the season ended.
Switzer is clearly somebody with whom Roethlisberger gets along very well, and that is never a bad thing to have as a younger player whose job might not be as secure as others. I’m not saying that’s going to keep him on the team in 2020 and beyond, but it doesn’t hurt, either.
Originally drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round out of North Carolina in 2017, the Steelers acquired Switzer via trade—from the Oakland Raiders, after he had already been traded once, months earlier—in August of 2018, and it wasn’t long before Roethlisberger reached out, something Switzer talked about all the way back then.
They’ve clearly built a strong relationship since that time, and it was obviously that he liked throwing to him. Of course, Roethlisberger missed most of the 2019 season. A part of me does wonder if he would have seen more playing time had Roethlisberger not gotten injured.
But that was 2019, this is 2020. What about next year? Heading into the draft, the Steelers have JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and Diontae Johnson as locks. It’s pretty likely a relatively high draft pick will account for another lock.
And who else is there? Deon Cain is the most significant name, as even Johnny Holton is gone. Amara Darboh? Quadree Henderson? It’s not like they’re stacked from top to bottom. Chances are pretty good that Switzer is still on the Steelers in 2020 as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.