Now that the 2020 training camp 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: Sold
Reasoning: In a move that was only surprising in the sense that it didn’t seem to mesh with the organization’s evident opinion of him, the Steelers opted to waive wide receiver Ryan Switzer yesterday after having spent the past two years with the team.
Originally acquired via trade in August of 2018, Ryan Switzer didn’t take long in quickly ingratiating himself to Pittsburgh. Brought in as a return specialist, ostensibly, he was thought to be a sight for sore eyes as the team looked to address the lagging return game.
As it would turn out, he would only do even worse than his predecessors, but he seemed to be working his way into contributor status in short order offensively, Ben Roethlisberger in particular taking an immediate liking to him and ultimately referring to him as a ‘tough little booger.
While Roethlisberger is probably unhappy with the front office and Mike Tomlin’s decision to release his friend, Switzer has no statistical claim to make in defending his place on the roster, because his statistics last year were abysmal. With no preseason this year, and no training camp reports, we were not privy to how he was performing.
One thing that is notable is the fact that Switzer is a fourth-year player. This means that he would have to clear waivers if the Steelers, for example, wanted to try to sign him for the practice squad. In other words, even in a best-case scenario, they were willing to risk losing him, even if they regarded it as a calculated risk. And they may not even be interested in looking at him for a practice squad spot.
Still, the move was a surprise just because of how highly the organization seemed to regard him, and in particular Roethlisberger. Even he acknowledged in a recent interview that his relationship with Roethlisberger was a big deal in terms of his being there.
For now, the team only has five wide receivers on the 53-man roster, the fifth being return specialist Ray-Ray McCloud. Just keep in mind, though, that this can change, especially given McCloud’s penchant for fumbling.