The Dallas Cowboys drafted Ryan Switzer in last year’s fourth round, creating a realistic expectation he’d wear the star through his rookie contract at least.
That’s why a late April call from Jerry Jones came as such a shock. The North Carolina product was headed to the mall with his wife when his life changed by news that he had been traded to the Raiders for defensive lineman Jihad Ward right after the 2018 NFL draft.
“Just the snap of the fingers and your world gets flipped upside down,” Switzer said June 13, during Raiders minicamp. “It is the nature of this business. I’m understanding that. Ultimately, I realized that everything happens for a reason. I’m here where I’m supposed to be and happy to be here.”
Moving is never fun. Having a spouse forced to change jobs isn’t ideal.
Neither was his offensive role in Dallas.
The dynamic receiver and return man was stuck behind Cole Beasley in the slot rotation, with several ahead of him on the depth chart. He was targeted seven times as a rookie, with just six receptions for 41 yards to his credit.
He was a special teams stalwart and the Cowboys’ return man.
Switzer will be a special teams fixture again in Oakland, but the North Carolina product has a real chance to impact Jon Gruden’s offense. That opportunity was enhanced during a standout offseason program where he often worked with the first unit.
“Ryan Switzer has really caught my eye,” Gruden said, unprompted. “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.”
That praise came after a solid spring, which must be succeeded by quality in training camp and preseason games.
Switzer has worn silver and black since May, with time to analyze this change of scenery. It’s clearly the best thing for him.
“No question. I’m ecstatic to be here, especially on the offensive side of the ball,” Switzer said. “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 (cornerbacks) and linebackers. We’ve got a plethora of them. We’ve got All-Pro’s on the outside. I think it’s going to be special for me here. I’m looking forward to helping this team win and contributing.”