Ryan Switzer’s tenure as an Oakland Raider lasted most of one offseason. Now the former George Washington High and North Carolina star is moving much, much closer to home.
Switzer — traded from the Dallas Cowboys to the Raiders in April — has been traded from Oakland to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Raiders announced Monday. The Steelers get Switzer and a sixth-round pick, giving up a fifth-round pick in return.
A fourth-round pick of the 2017 NFL draft, Switzer went to Oakland for defensive lineman Jihad Ward. Reports had the NCAA-record holding slot receiver and kick/punt returner getting passed on the Oakland depth chart by Griff Whalen and Seth Roberts. That gave the Raiders the flexibility to send Switzer to Pittsburgh.
He should give the Steelers an immediate boost on special teams. As Cowboys rookie, Switzer was tied for 13th in the NFL averaging 25.0 yards per kick return. He was tied for seventh with 16 returns of at least 20 yards and was one of 23 players with a kick return of at least 40 yards. His longest kick return was a 61-yarder.
His first NFL touchdown came on an 83-yard punt return against the Washington Redskins. His 29 punt returns tied for eighth-most in the league and he averaged 8.8 yards per return, the 12th-best average among players with at least 20 punt returns. Switzer was named to the Pro Football Writers Association of America’s All-Rookie Team as a kick returner. Pittsburgh used starters like Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster as returners last season.
Switzer has fared quite well at Heinz Field in the past. At UNC, he caught five passes for 126 yards and a 71-yard touchdown against the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. In 2013, he returned two punts for touchdowns against the Panthers.