It’s safe to say that the 2020 NFL season did not go as planned for former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Ryan Switzer. In July of last year he went out on a limb and predicted he would soon become one of the best slot receivers in the NFL—that he would “be talked about like [Julian] Edelman is, like [Wes] Welker was. Like Jamison Crowder, Cole Beasley.”
NFL Twitter found that statement hilarious and warned him not to get ahead of himself—that he needed to earn a place on Pittsburgh’s 53-man roster first.
As it turns out, those NFL fans proved prophetic. Despite earning rave reviews in training camp, Switzer failed to make Pittsburgh’s opening day roster, nor was he signed to the team’s 16-man practice squad. In essence, he became expendable after the Steelers signed wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud, who turned out to be a much better kick returner.
Ryan Switzer Joined the Cleveland Browns Practice Squad
More notably, still, Switzer wasn’t able to immediately catch on with another NFL team. It took several weeks before he got a tryout with the Cleveland Browns, who subsequently signed him to their practice squad, where he remained for the rest of the season.
But on Friday, the Browns signed Switzer to a one-year contract, giving him a chance to resume his quest to achieve slot receiver greatness.
The Browns are signing WR Ryan Switzer (@Switz) to a one-year deal. He caught on with Cleveland this past season and now another year to keep growing in that system.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 22, 2021
For what it’s worth, Switzer will be entering his fifth year in the league, and Julian Edelman (New England Patriots) didn’t become ‘like Edelman’ until his fifth year in the NFL.
In fact, if you compare the first three seasons of their respective careers you find that Switzer had 50 catches for 321 yards, as compared to Edelman, who produced 48 catches for 479 yards. Similarly, Wes Welker’s career didn’t really take off until his fourth season in the league. So perhaps there’s still time for Switzer to take a big leap forward.
Ryan Switzer’s NFL Journey
But it’s perhaps not a good sign that Switzer has bounced around the league since he was selected in the fourth round of the 2017 draft (No. 133 overall) by the Dallas Cowboys. He lasted just one season in Dallas, catching six passes for 41 yards as a rookie.
In April 2018 the University of North Carolina product was traded to the Raiders for defensive lineman Jihad Ward, but Switzer never played for the Raiders, who traded him and a sixth-round draft pick to the Steelers in exchange for a 2019 fifth-round pick.
During his two seasons in Pittsburgh, Switzer caught 44 passes for 280 yards and one touchdown. He also returned 39 kickoffs for 773 yards (19.8 yard average), as well as 38 punts for 281 yards (7.4 yard average).
A recent tweet from Switzer would seem to indicate that he has taken the 2020 season in stride, saying, “Setbacks are necessary on the journey to achieving your dreams. I’m humbled and grateful for all I experienced this year. Thank you @Browns for allowing me to be a part of a historic season. I’m looking forward to seeing what God has in store….”
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