There have been few things Pittsburgh Steelers fans have been more ready to agree on than the idea that wide receiver Ryan Switzer should not be on the roster this year. During the 2019 season, his second with the Steelers, he caught just eight passes for 27 yards—3.4 yards per reception, while also averaging just 3.6 yards per punt return and 18.4 yards per kick return, all among the worst marks in the league.
He suffered a back injury in the ninth game of the season and spent the rest of the year on injured reserve, knowing as well as anybody that he disappointed, tremendously. He has talked about this openly on social media, even addressing fan criticisms directly, while vowing to be better.
Yesterday, during an Instagram live story, according to Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he told his followers that he is in the best shape of his life right now, weighing 177 pounds—he is listed at 185 on the team’s website. He also said, “I believe I will be one of the best slot receivers in the NFL”.
Steelers’ Ryan Switzer on IG Live says he’s in the best shape of his life at 177 lbs: “I believe I will be one of the best slot receivers in the NFL….I have no doubt I’ll be up there and I’ll be talked about like Edelman is, like Welker was, like Jamison Crowder, Cole Beasley.”
— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) July 20, 2020
“I have no doubt I’ll be up there and I’ll be talked about like Edelman is, like Welker was, like Jamison Crowder, Cole Beasley”, he added. Discussing the history and evolution of the slot receiver position has been a common offseason topic for Switzer, who has been known to make media appearances from time to time.
Originally drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, he was used almost exclusively as a return man during his rookie season. The Oakland Raiders traded for him the following offseason, and then later traded him to the Steelers, where he functioned as the returner in 2018, but also carved out a small offensive role, despite having only been acquired shortly before the regular season.
During the 2018 season, he quickly developed a rapport with Ben Roethlisberger, even if he was largely used on very short passes. He ultimately caught 36 for 253 yards and a touchdown, with 15 of them going for first downs. He also has six rushes for 21 yards.
Switzer and Roethlisberger have gotten very close over the past couple of years, and he has been a consistent presence with his quarterback this offseason, regularly working out with him as he works his way back from an elbow injury that cost him almost all of the 2019 season.
A season Switzer would like to forget. Once again, the team used a high draft pick to add another player at his position in Chase Claypool. He knows his job is being threatened and that he has to earn his spot. If fans had their way, he would have been cut in the middle of last season. But as it stands, he still has a good chance of being on the team and even contributing in 2020.