The three receivers you hear about in Oakland these days are Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, and Martavis Bryant. But attending minicamp, that’s not the trio you see most on the field. Coop is a constant. But after him, there’s a steady rotation between Nelson, Bryant and Ryan Switzer.
Bryant and Switzer were both acquired in draft day trades. And as we’re coming to find, Gruden does nothing without a purpose. He liked both players, and he made a move to get them.
At the time of his acquisition, it was noted that Switzer was drafted by Dallas last year with Rich Bisaccia as special teams coordinator there. Special teams is where Switzer saw the field most in as a rookie fourth round pick. He returned punts and kicks for the Cowboys. Now with Bisaccia here, it was assumed that was the reason behind the move.
There is no question, the Raiders see Switzer as their punt returner. But it’s becoming apparent their plans for him are much bigger.
The 5-8, 173-pounder doesn’t look like much. In fact, when he’s not in pads, he doesn’t look like an NFL player at all. But he’s fast and he’s quick and he has great hands. And more and more as the offseason has gone on, we have seen him given the chance to show off those talents as Derek Carr’s primary slot target in Gruden’s offense.
“Ryan Switzer has really caught my eye,” Gruden said following minicamp. “Switzer has come in here and not only been a punt returner, kick returner, he’s come in and been a force as a slot receiver. He’s really done well.”
Spending just one season in the organization that spent a mid-round draft pick on you can be jarring. Here Switzer was thinking he was going to be in Dallas for at least four years and he was changing teams exactly a year later.
What was presented, however, is a far better shot for Switzer to make an impact on the offensive side of the ball.
“Just the snap of the fingers your world gets flipped upside down. It is the nature of this business. I’m understanding that. Ultimately, realized that everything happens for a reason. I’m here where I’m supposed to be and happy to be here.”
In Dallas he was targeted just 7 times all season, catching 6 passes for 41 yards. From the looks of things so far, he can expect a far larger role in the offense in Oakland, which as you can imagine is pretty exciting for Switzer who caught 96 passes his senior season at North Carolina.
“I’m ecstatic to be here, especially on the offensive side of the ball,” said Switzer. “I think you look at the great slot receivers in this league and all of them have got great outside guys around you. That’s what makes the middle of the field so deadly, is when you’ve got outside receivers who can put pressure, not only on corners but safeties. That leaves me to deal with nickel’s and linebackers. We’ve got a plethora of them. We’ve got All-Pros on the outside. I think it’s going to be special for me here.”