There’s no two ways about it, defense is the number one off-season need of the Oakland Raiders. The unit gave up 375 yards and 24 points per game, and as great as Derek Carr and the offense are, they can’t always score as often as their defense gives up points. The Oakland Raiders need to spent money and early picks on linebackers, defensive linemen, and defensive backs. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t get offensive help in the middle rounds in the draft. Help like Ryan Switzer.
The Oakland Raiders Should Draft Ryan Switzer
Derek Carr has arguably the best wide receiver duo in the NFL in Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. Both receivers had over 1,000 yards in 2016, and they made life a lot easier for the third year quarterback. Seth Roberts and Andre Holmes have had their moments, but the Raiders could certainly benefit from improving at the position.
The Oakland Raiders are undefeated when Seth Roberts catches a touchdown pass. This isn’t just a coincidence, as the 26 year old has been known to make the occasional big play when it matters most. In each game where Roberts had a touchdown catch in 2016, the Raiders won by no more than seven points. However, he’s also been wildly unreliable.
In his best game, Roberts had three catches for 69 yards, and a touchdown. In the rest of his games, there were only three instances where he had more than 30 yards. He was hardly a crucial part of Oakland’s offense, and that’s without mentioning his biggest downside.
His Pro Football Focus grade was 48.3 this year, which was the 111th worst in the entire league for a wide receiver. He dropped almost seven percent of the passes thrown at him, and was a non-factor for the second half of the season. He’s a good role player, but he’s not reliable or consistent enough to be Derek Carr’s slot receiver.
Ryan Switzer’s pro comparison is obviously Julian Edelman. That might seem like a lazy description, but when you look at the two, there are plenty of similarities. He’s not the biggest guy, and he likely won’t be able to play outside, but his elite quickness and reliable hands make him an asset for any passing offense. Despite being small, his compact frame allows him to take big hits and move the chains over the middle.
He won’t be able to challenge Crabtree or Cooper for a starting job, but he’ll take some pressure off of them. With a reliable third option, it’ll be harder for defenses to shut the big receivers down. Should Clive Walford develop, or the Raiders find another tight end, the offense could explode.
While it might give Switzer a low ceiling, his physical limitations should hurt his draft stock enough for the Raiders to be able to select him after the second round. This way, head coach Jack Del Rio and general manager Reggie McKenzie can address the much-maligned defense first. Speaking of the defense, there’s a Raider defender that has already been singing Switzer’s praises.
A Funny Story
Raider rusher Bruce Irvin already has a close relationship with Ryan Switzer. It’s a funny story, but apparently, the two bonded when Switzer was visiting West Virginia. Switzer ended up going to University of North Carolina, but the two remained close friends. Irvin has been nicknamed “Baby Reggie” because of how he recruited free agents last off-season, perhaps he can work his magic again, convincing the Silver and Black brass to take a chance on his “little brother.”