With NFL OTAs underway, it’s been a busy week trying to get a good idea of where some of the newcomers and veterans stand in terms of their roles for this coming season. While this is just the beginning of offseason activities, some players have managed to stand out already to their respective coaches/coordinators. Recent UNC grad Ryan Switzer is doing just that.
On May 23rd when OTAs began, the Cowboys were without their starting slot receiver Cole Beasley due to soreness in his hamstring. This was the perfect opportunity for Switzer to step in and take first-team reps in the slot. It didn’t take long before the Cowboys revealed that they are working on packages for both Beasley and Switzer to be on the field at the same time with hopes of exploiting some of the mismatches they may see during the season with opposing defenses.
"He's a classic slot receiver," Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "He has a similar game [to Beasley], but he has his own things. We would really like those two guys to be able to complement each other and run real similar route trees. Certainly a huge bonus with him is his ability to be a returner in our special teams.
"His role is significant. You can see right now he's getting reps that we wouldn't have...if he wasn't here. He complements Beasley and also gives us some big-time needed depth at that position."
Even the breakout star from last year Dak Prescott had high praise for what Switzer is able to do:
"He's another weapon," Prescott said earlier this month. "He reminds me of Beasley and the things that he can do. Playing in the slot, he had a lot of production there at North Carolina. I watched him while he was in college, so to have him on the team, looking forward to getting comfortable with him as a weapon. I know he’s going to add another dynamic to this offense.”
A big part of what Ryan Switzer has been able to show off is his catching ability. During the OTAs, Switzer managed to haul in a one-handed catch from Prescott near the right sideline and get both feet inbounds. This is of little surprise to UNC fans, as Switzer had the lowest dropped pass rate in 2016 in all of college football. He finished the season with 1,112 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
The Dallas Cowboys are trying to continue the momentum coming off of last year, where they saw Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have outstanding rookie seasons. A lot of the game was focused on running the football / play-action, and it should be no different this year. Switzer is crucial piece to their offense, providing someone who can abuse slot cornerbacks with his quickness and route-running abilities. Don’t be surprised if we hear Ryan Switzer’s name come up more than a few times leading up to September and throughout this coming NFL season.