Saturday afternoon it was announced that Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley would miss the team's season finale with an undisclosed illness. The slot receiver has had a somewhat disappointing season, especially considering his level of production just a year ago.
As defenses adjusted to account for Beasley on third downs, and the Cowboys offense seemed to ignore him on other key plays, Beasley's production declined in 2017.
His absence this Sunday, however, could open the door for rookie wide out Ryan Switzer to showcase his skills.
Taken in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Switzer was expected to fill the Lucky Whitehead/Lance Dunbar role on the offense this year. His role offensively has been incredibly limited though, rendering him just a returner for much of the year.
Despite a rocky start to his rookie season, Switzer has proven himself an effective kick and punt returner. He even returned a punt for a touchdown a few weeks ago against the Washington Redskins. “Returner” isn't where I graded Ryan Switzer out of college, however. “Receiver” is, even if he does possess the versatility to do both.
Sure, this is a meaningless game, but anyone who watched Switzer at North Carolina knows what kind of receiving threat he can be. And with Beasley's age increasing while his ability seems to be decreasing, Ryan Switzer could be his immediate replacement in the slot.
I don't know that we will necessarily get a definitive answer from this one game, but with Beasley out Ryan Switzer should get chances on offense which he simply hasn't over the course of the season. If you're looking for a reason to watch the game this week, or for something to pay close attention to during this exhibition Sunday of sorts, the evolution of Ryan Switzer should be at the top of your list.