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Insider Only What the Ryan Switzer Trade Means for the Steelers

Steelers acquire WR/KR Ryan Switzer

The Pittsburgh Steelers today traded a 2019 fifth-round pick to the Oakland Raiders for WR/KR Ryan Switzer. Pittsburgh also receives a 2019 sixth-round pick in the deal.

Switzer, a 2nd-year pro, was originally drafted by the Dallas Cowboys (fourth round, 133rd overall). Switzer spent last season with the Cowboys, appearing in all 16 games and totaling six catches for 41 yards.

A primary reason the Steelers surrendered a fifth-round pick for Switzer is his ability in the return game. A dynamic punter returner in college with 7 touchdowns at North Carolina, Switzer returned 29 punts for 256 yards and a touchdown for the Cowboys in 2017 and averaged 25 yards per kickreturn.

While this will be Switzer’s third NFL team already, you can pencil Switzer into the Steelers 53-man roster when they open the season vs Cleveland.

“He’s a duel return man, Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" a slot receiver,” said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. “A guy that we evaluated prior to the draft. He was down there with Trubisky at UNC. Caught a lot of balls on offense, was a dangerous return man over the course of his [collegiate] career.”


1. Limiting Antonio Brown on punt returns: The Steelers have a strong desire to move away from having to use Antonio Brown on punt returns, except for certain situations when the Steelers are trailing late or have an opportunity at a short field, the addition of Switzer gives the Steelers a viable option to keep Brown away from taking hits in the return game.

2. Setting up to carry six wide receivers? Pittsburgh is now locked into Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Shuster, James Washington, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Ryan Switzer at the wide receiver and the belief is Ben Roethlisberger likes Justin Hunter’s deep threat ability enough that he’s also going to have a seat at the table.

3. The Eli Rogers situation…..

The trade for Switzer also has an Eli Rogers element to it. Rogers recovering from a torn ACL is suspended for Week 1
and expected to start the season on the PUP list.

4. Bad news for Fitzgerald Toussaint?

Toussaint enters final week of the preseason with his roster spot hanging by the thread following the trade for Switzer who becomes the Steelers top return man.

Toussaint has also been losing ground at the running back position with the impression Jaylen Samuels has made on the coaching staff.

“I think he’s [Jaylen Samuels] increasingly getting more consistent in terms of what we expect from him,” Mike Tomlin said of Samuels. “He’s got a skill set that is good in some areas and that is very varsity and consistently varsity. I like his overall attitude in terms of the challenges that we are presenting to him in terms of areas that he needs to work. He caught a lot of balls, and he was a third down type back at N.C. State.”

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at