Switzer is making a case to earn a role on offense, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. "Ryan Switzer has really caught my eye," said Raiders coach Jon Gruden. "Switzer has come in here and not only been a punt returner, kick returner, he's come in and been a force as a slot receiver. He's really done well."
The Raiders traded DL Jihad Ward to Dallas for Switzer in April, seemingly hoping for an easy fix to last year's struggles in the return game. The 2017 fourth-round pick still figures to get most of his touches on special teams, but he also should have a chance to beat out Seth Roberts for the No. 4 wideout role. Switzer could then find himself getting regular playing time in the slot if Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson or Martavis Bryant were to miss time.
Switzer was traded from Dallas to Oakland for defensive tackle Jihad Ward.
Switzer, a 2017 fourth-round pick, hauled in six passes on seven targets for 41 yards last season, and his best contributions came on special teams. The 5-foot-11, 181-pounder had 856 total return yards and took a punt back for a touchdown, so he'll likely take over as Oakland's return specialist in 2018, helping to replace Cordarrelle Patterson (Patriots).
Switzer was bothered by an ankle injury during the final five games of the 2017 season. This procedure isn't considered to be serious and the budding wideout is expected to be healthy in time for offseason workouts.
Switzer finished the regular season with six catches on seven targets for 41 yards, five rushing yards on four carries, and 856 return yards including a punt return for a touchdown.
The rookie wide receiver didn't get much of a chance to contribute on offense, but he improved as a kick returner as the season progressed, with his Week 13 punt return TD against Washington standing as the highlight of his campaign. As long as Cole Beasley is a Cowboy, Switzer likely won't see much action as a slot receiver, but he should enter 2018 as the team's primary return man.
Switzer will suit up for Thursday's divisional tilt after being limited in practice all week with an unspecified ankle injury. The 23-year-old wideout is more of a special teams performer and has only been targeted on offense twice this season.
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