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Great Expectations: Carving Out a Role for Ryan Switzer

John Williams

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Ryan Switzer

In part one of the series on expectations for the 2017 Dallas Cowboys, I talked about the great expectations for Dak Prescott improving on his excellent rookie campaign.

Today, we're looking at one of the 2017 rookies; Ryan Switzer.

The moment Ryan Switzer was drafted the comparisons to Cole Beasley were almost immediate. We know that Beasley isn't going anywhere. He has a great rapport with quarterback Dak Prescott so it's unlikely that Switzer is going to take any of Beasley's snaps.

While Beasley is an obvious comparison, based on their size, I think that Switzer may be more of a Ty Montgomery, Danny Woodhead, Lance Dunbar, and Tyreek Hill (minus the speed) type of player for the 2017 Dallas Cowboys.

Where Will Ryan Switzer's Playing Time Come From?

Staff Writer Jess Haynie alluded to this in his recent offensive roster breakdown.  And check out this Ryan Switzer post-NFL Draft scouting report from ITS Staff Writer Sean Martin.

Ryan Switzer on Offense

Ryan Switzer

WR Ryan Switzer

As many have already suggested, Switzer -- who was drafted in the fourth round out of North Carolina -- will have a chance to take Lucky Whitehead's job in the offseason and thus take his offensive snaps.

Whitehead was used primarily as a gadget player in the offense. He's had some WOW moments as well as some facepalm moments. It's the facepalm moments that have opened the door to a competition at wide receiver.

Whitehead's offensive role was limited to only 13% of the snaps during the season. Part of that is due to his limitations as a pass catcher and the team's minimal use of five wide receiver sets.

In fact, when they went empty backfield, it was with four wide receivers and Jason Witten lined up as the in-line tight end. Their other empty backfield formation was with Ezekiel Elliott motioning out of the backfield.

Whitehead only received 13 touches on offense in 2016, which is actually down from his 2015 total of 16.

Ryan Switzer comes with more of a pass catching resume than Whitehead, catching 96 passes for over 1,100 yards as the top option for number-2 overall pick, Mitch Trubisky.

Lucky Whitehead's best season saw him catch 76 passes for 706 yards and six touchdowns. In his only other full-time season, he caught nine passes.

Switzer had three seasons with more than 50 catches, including the 96-catch senior season. He also scored offensive touchdowns each of his four seasons at UNC, totaling 19.

The other place in which Ryan Switzer could help the team is in the Lance Dunbar role and his 13% share of the team's offensive snaps. Dunbar is now a member of the Los Angeles Rams and many have been longing for a scat-back type to replace him on the roster.

What if that scat back is actually listed as a wide receiver?

Not sure if you're aware, because I didn't know until after the draft, but Switzer played running back in high school and was really, really, really good.

In 2011 and 2012, he carried the ball 504 times for 5,175 yards (2587.5 per season), and 72 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 30 passes for 402 yards and six touchdowns. And if those numbers aren't incredible enough, he tallied four interceptions his junior year, returning two for touchdowns. Stats taken from 24/7 Sports.

Kinda wish I would have lived in West Virginia to get a chance to watch young Ryan play. He must have been electric in high school.

The Green Bay Packers opened the door to converting running back-turned-wide receiver, back into a running back with what they did with Ty Montgomery in 2016. If they were willing to make him the feature back for a team that went to the NFC Championship game, surely the Dallas Cowboys can carve out some snaps for someone who was a really effective back in high school.

And before you start with the "but that was high school" stuff, lets remember Rico Gathers, who hasn't played football since the eighth grade.

To me, Ryan Switzer is the answer to two positions on the team.

He's the Lucky Whitehead "gadget" guy and the Lance Dunbar "scat-back" guy all rolled into one. Perhaps he is Inspector Gadget. 

There is a minimum of 282 offensive snaps available to Switzer to earn, with a shot to take some from receiver Brice Butler as well. As things have been going in OTAs and minicamp, Switzer may just be able to do that.

Ryan Switzer on Special Teams

Which Cowboys' Rookie Will Have The Best 2017 Season?

With an emphasis on special, Switzer was a very special returner for the Tar Heels. He was widely regarded as the best returner in the 2017 NFL Draft, even by himself.

His best season was as a freshmen when he averaged 20.7 yards per punt return and scored five touchdowns. As a junior, he averaged 13.7 yards per punt return and scored two more touchdowns.

Whitehead has much more experience as a kick returner than Switzer does, but hasn't been effective. As a punt returner, Lucky has only averaged 6.9 yards per return on his career.

In college, Switzer averaged 10.9 yards per return for his career.

Between Whitehead and Dunbar there are 208 snaps available on special teams. I'd imagine he'd also get some work on kickoff and punt coverage as well.

With what Switzer can do as a receiver, runner, and returner, it seems that there will be a nice role for him during the 2017 season. I'd expect him to see anywhere from 300-450 snaps this season, even if everyone is healthy.

If one of the wide receivers gets hurt, I expect that number to go up.


I didn't start out as a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quickly as I could. I grew up a Joe Montana fan when he was with the 49ers and followed him to the Chiefs, until we moved to Texas. I've now been a Fan of the Boys since the Dark Days of the Post-Aikman, Pre-Romo era of abysmal quarterback play, now relishing in more than a decade of franchise quarterbacking for America's Team.

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2 Comments
  • ThePsychodad69

    The kid has a dead leg that will shake the tightest coverage, but I think he’s going to be a deeper threat than Beasley.

    And your right his HS tape is really good, he has the ‘it’ factor.

    Looking forward to seeing him goto work.

    • John Williams

      Definitely has some big play ability, I wonder if he has the speed to take the top of the defense. Looking forward to see what he has to offer.

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Is Terrance Williams Roster Spot Safe with Dallas Cowboys?

Sean Martin

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Is Terrance Williams Roster Spot Safe with Dallas Cowboys?

This will hardly be the last article written about the wide receivers of the Dallas Cowboys entering the 2018 season. However, we can only hope it's the last off-field incident that will factor into the difficult decisions the Cowboys will make on their final depth chart at WR. Yesterday, veteran Wide Receiver Terrance Williams was arrested for public intoxication after leaving the scene of a crash involving his Lamborghini.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys WR Terrance Williams released a statement on his recent arrest detailing several facets of the incident: "I have always been an upstanding citizen and handled the situation the best way I know how.

Details concerning the severity of the incidents that led to Williams arrest remain somewhat unclear. His on-field production certainly has not been though, putting himself in an expendable position by failing to catch a touchdown in 2017 and only going for over 100 yards once.

Handling this Terrance Williams situation in whatever the "right way" is will be yet another critical decision the Cowboys make under Head Coach Jason Garrett. A team that has clearly valued continuity under Garrett, there is precedent for the Cowboys keeping a now-troubled player like Williams if the void he'd leave behind is too large.

It is widely believed that this is a Cowboys coaching staff working to keep their jobs in 2018. Losing Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Terrance Williams in one offseason may very well be too much.

Already dealing with a broken foot that expects to keep Terrance Williams out of football activities until training camp though, it is becoming increasingly easier for Williams to become forgotten about in new WR Coach Sanjay Lal's room.

New additions to this unit include FA signings Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson, along with rookies Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson. Joined by the likes of KD Cannon, Lance Lenoir, and Malik Earl, all of these receivers are going to stake their claims for a spot on the Dallas Cowboys before Williams even catches another pass from Dak Prescott.

Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Loss To Packers

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Once perceived to be fighting for positions below Hurns, Williams, and Cole Beasley as locks on the final 53 man roster, Williams' arrest is the epitome of "next man up" in Dallas. Even if Williams remains with the team in 2018 - as cutting him would only make moral sense for the Cowboys, not financial - his days as a starting receiver may very well be numbered.

As mentioned, this won't be the first look we have at the status of the Cowboys receivers. I'm already on record having high expectations for Michael Gallup, and believe Cedrick Wilson was one of the steals of the draft for the Cowboys in the sixth round. The unproven nature of this pass catching unit (through to TE with rookie Dalton Schultz) is going to make for fascinating training camp battles, competing for spots in an offense that could still be one of the league's best.

Tell us what you think about "Is Terrance Williams Roster Spot Safe with Dallas Cowboys?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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BREAKING: Terrance Williams Arrested For Public Intoxication After Car Accident

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Will Terrance Williams be Back with Cowboys in 2018?

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams is in jail after crashing his car, a Lamborghini, into a light pole, per the Star Telegram. The incident occurred approximately at 3:00 AM, according to the reports and Williams, who fled the scene was arrested two hours later. He was arrested for public intoxication and was also charged for leaving the scene.

According to Clarence Hill, Williams was still in jail as of 11:30 AM.

Kate Hairopoulus, from SportsDay, reported that according to Frisco Police, the Lamborghini was found without a driver. After determining that the car belonged to the Cowboys' wide receiver, they proceded to arrest Williams near his residence, where he was riding an electric bicycle.

This certainly explains why T-Will wasn't arrested for DUI instead of public intoxication. Hairopoulus also reported that Williams has been released on a $369 bond.

Without much more details, Terrance Williams' future with the Cowboys doesn't look very promising as of right now. After hauling a lot of receivers during the offseason, the WR room in Dallas will feature a lot of competition.

Williams, who's recovering from a fractured foot and missing the offseason programs, has something to prove. Certainly, an accident like this doesn't help much his cause.

Here at Inside The Star, we'll keep you updated with more details about Terrance Williams' arrest.

Last updated at 2:20 PM CDT.

Tell me what you think about "BREAKING: Terrance Williams Arrested For Public Intoxication After Car Accident" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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WATCH: LB Jaylon Smith Moving Without Brace

Kevin Brady

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Jaylon Smith Voted Cowboys' Ed Block Courage Award Winner 1

When the Dallas Cowboys shocked the world and selected linebacker Jaylon Smith early in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, most could not picture a day where he would be going through drills without a brace on his injured knee.

Well, as has been previously reported, that day is now.

New footage has emerged of Jaylon Smith moving laterally without the brace, posted to Youtube by "Cowboys Fan Club." And to say he looks smooth doing so would be an understatement.

Streamable - free video publishing

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

The 50 second video clip above shows Jaylon Smith looking rather explosive laterally, something we feared he may never be able to do again. When at his best Smith was able to utilize his athleticism and range, and if he can get those attributes all the way back the Cowboys linebacker group will be in very good shape.

Combining him with the athletic Leighton Vander Esch and consistent Sean Lee would be a solid trio of linebackers in 2018. Of course, there is a lot of time between now and the opening game against the Carolina Panthers, however, but it's okay to be excited about his progress.

Let's hope Jaylon Smith continues to progress as the offseason moves along and we inch closer to the 2018 season.


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