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
Hate me for this if you must, but yes, this is another positive stock evaluation for Ryan Switzer, the fourth-year wide receiver who amazingly averaged a yards-per-catch figure last season that it would have been a really bad number even for a running back…in yards per carry.
Most have given up on him, even if he had plenty of fans in 2018 when the Steelers first acquired him. Now, it’s true that he has extensively underperformed as a return man. But for obvious reasons, it’s hard to judge anybody in the passing game last season.
The fact of the matter is that he has been closer to Roethlisberger than anybody else since his surgery. He has been the one who has been consistently catching footballs from the quarterback since he began throwing footballs in February. Others have also caught passes with him, but Switzer has been there the whole time.
And that does matter a lot. A quarterback’s relationship with his wide receivers is one of the most important relationships on a football team, and Switzer has assured that he has a great one with Roethlisberger. He’ll want Switzer on the team, and he’ll have trust in the wide receiver.
That doesn’t mean that he is guaranteed to have a roster spot. He’ll still have to perform and earn his way onto the team, make no mistake about it. But considering there are potentially two roster spots open at wide receiver and he’s the most experienced of all the candidates competing for those two jobs, he does have a good chance.
And let’s be fair. There’s no doubt that he can play better than his numbers so last year. Those numbers reflect pure incompetence, and he’s not an incompetent player. He got the very short end of the stick in terms of quarterback play last season, for one thing. And the fact is, there aren’t many slot receivers on this roster anyway.