Senior Bowl Spotlight: Ryan Switzer, University of North Carolina
Height: 5’ 8 ½”
Weight: 179 lbs
Hands: 9 ⅛”
Wing: 67 ⅜”
40 yard dash: 4.51 (official)
NFL Comparison: Julian Edelman, Randall Cobb, Jeremy Kerley
Scouting Notes: Switzer was basically the South squad’s mirrored reflection of the North team’s Trent Taylor at the Senior Bowl, a compact and quick slot receiver/kick returner. To be perfectly honest, Switzer was higher on our boards for most of the week too – that is, until we heard grumblings that he possessed some “character concerns” that Taylor apparently did not. In retrospect, it seems silly to base such distinctions on what currently amounts to hearsay, so I’ll go ahead and say that on the field, Switzer was the more impressive player of the two. Just looking at metrics, collected by Catapult Sports – when you consider maximum speeds, Switzer topped ALL players on day 3 of practice, hitting 19.8 mph, whereas Taylor topped out at 19 mph flat. Switzer also had a higher overall number of explosive movements throughout the week. As for the “character concerns,” TE George Kittle, who is Switzer’s roommate at their training facility told RosterWatch that Switzer was “the hardest worker he’s ever seen.” A statement which corroborates the insane workload Switzer registered in Catapult measurements throughout the Senior Bowl
Switzer actually looks smaller than he is, mainly because he’s got short legs and a longer torso. His short legs aid him in his shiftiness, and that extra torso helps him to extend his catch range horizontally. He regularly makes grabs that seem unreachable at the outset, balls that are going out of bounds or beyond him down the field, all by leaning heavily in the desired direction and catching the ball away from his body. This benefits Switzer in making contested catches as well. He had no problems beating bigger corners to the ball in one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl. His speed comes in spurts, so although he is lightning fast to move to the ball, he doesn’t dominate in deep routes and gets caught from behind more than he should. Switzer’s secret key is his knack for finding soft spots in coverage and hovering there, making an easy target for his QB. He’s the guy the defense never sees coming until it’s too late. Though he’s an enthusiastic blocker, Switzer tends to go low against defenders, which isn’t good for anybody.
Fantasy Outlook: Switzer is an asset as a return man – he’s tied for first in ACC history with six punt returns for TDs and set the UNC single game record for most return yards in a game (168 yards), in addition to holding the UNC single-season receiving record with 91 receptions over the regular season for 1,027 yards and five touchdowns. That said, he’s an undersized player with a questionable attitude, so he’s probably not going to get drafted in Round 1 or 2. I could see him going anytime after that, though. Switzer isn’t a game changing talent, he’s going to remain a slot receiver who gets few looks in the endzone, but he could have a bright future in PPR leagues if players of his profile like Julian Edelman and Randall Cobb are any indication. He’s definitely worth a mid-to-late round add in PPR dynasty leagues, as well as leagues that count return yards.