When Ryan Switzer first showed up on the college football scene, he was changing games as a punt returner.
Switzer tied the NCAA record for punt return touchdowns at five his freshman year and finished his career with seven total. As a former high school running back, Switzer has electric potential every time he touches the football. As his career went on, he started making more and more plays as a receiver.
His senior year, Switzer finally got a heavy workload in a more pass oriented offense. The senior receiver hauled in 96 catches for over 1,100 yards and scored 6 touchdowns. UNC moved Switzer around quite a bit, but was constantly looking to take advantage of his yards after catch ability.
Switzer not only has excellent field vision and quickness, but he also has an innate ability to go straight from receiver to runner.
The smooth transition he makes affords the offense extra yardage on a consistent basis. Yards after catch is the name of the game with Switzer, but he is also just a consistent football player when it comes to the passing game. His ability to get open over the middle of the field and catch the ball in space on a regular basis makes him a quarterback's best friend.
The quickness in which he can change direction creates instant separation and when the ball is in the air, Switzer rarely lets it hit the ground.
This work out of the slot is by far what he does best. He does a great job getting open in the middle of the field and uses the space to find yardage after the catch.
While Switzer is more of an "on the ground" player that takes short passes and can make long gains from them, he can also threaten big plays through the air. He is not a "deep threat" per se, but here he looks off the defender, separates to the corner and does an excellent job finding the ball and staying bounds down the field. These plays are not regular due to how he is used, but they are encouraging.
My favorite thing about Switzer is his football IQ. He does subtle things in his game that suggest an easy transition to the NFL.
This may seem like a routine play, but notice the slight slowing up Switzer does when he goes past the cornerback? He found a soft spot in the zone and instead of just going through the motions of running his route, he stays in that coverage break. A lot of wide receivers do not notice these types of things and just run the route, but Switzer doesn't run himself into coverage. These types of nuances help Switzer be so dependable and productive and will help him at the next level.
Switzer's size is the biggest issue. Switzer is just a hair or two over 5'8" and the only person who had shorter arms than him at the Senior Bowl was a kicker. Switzer's lack of length shows up when he is catching the football. While he is a dependable player, he lets a lot of passes come into his body and is not one to consistently make catches away from his frame. This limits what he can do as a receiver. While he is a physical player and does not mind going into traffic to make catches, he has issues in these contested situations due to his lack of size. This also prohibits him from successfully working on the outside against bigger, more physical cornerbacks.
So, Switzer has a defined role at the next level ... he's a slot guy and there is nothing wrong with that. In the context of what he is able to do, he is very good at it. If a team drafts him to be their number one receiver, they are going to have problems, but if he is a second or third option in your offense, that offense is in luck. Switzer will provide a very good intermediate player in the passing game who can pick up nice yardage after the catch. Every team needs a player like that. His dependability, consistency and creativity as an offensive player will be an asset for a football team. Also, don't forget how good he is in the return game.
Pro Comparison: Switzer may just be a slot receiver, but he is a very athletic one. The speed and quickness he brings to the position is reminiscent of Andrew Hawkins at his best. Hawkins had trouble making it to the league due to being 5'7", but eventually caught on after some time in Canada and went on to have a solid career. Switzer should not have the same trouble making it to the league due to his productivity in a big conference whereas Hawkins was a two way player at Toledo in college. Regardless, Switzer can bring that same electricity to the slot while also being a factor on special teams.
Switzer is best suited in an offense that revolves around the short passing game. It is a no-brainer, then, to think of him being a fit in Philadelphia's offense. Of course, Jordan Matthews is the current slot receiver for the team and his ability on the outside is a relative unknown, so Switzer might be a bit redundant. However, with his returning ability, he can make an impact year one on special teams for any football team. The Eagles should not draft Switzer if they have in mind that he can be the top guy in the passing offense, because that assumes too much of what he can do in terms of stretching the field and we have seen the last two years what happens when an offense tries to run through a slot receiver. Switzer is a good player, but it comes down to finding a perfect fit and situation for him. If a team is drafting him to be a complementary player, he makes a lot of sense on day two of the draft. As long as he is not depended on to be "the guy" in an offense, Switzer should be an excellent pro.