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Possible Late-Round Gem From North Carolina

Reader Zach Adams thinks he may have found a sleeper in this year’s draft.

Pittsburgh v North Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

We all know great teams are built through the draft. No surprise there. While all the hype and hoopla goes to all the upper echelon first and second round talents (deservedly so) the quickest and most efficient way to turn out a roster and turn a team around is building a solid core and depth with the mid to late round picks. To do so, you need to hit on a high percentage of those picks. of course the later the pick the higher the risk, or at least that is the perception. Every year you see good ball players slide in the draft for any of a number of reasons, whether they are undersized, have character concerns, or lack experience. Really when you're trying to compare athletes to say who is better or who is not by giving “draft grades” really these guys are getting nitpicked.

As I sat at home and watched a recorded combine workout, I watched a few 40s then decided to pull up the final results for the receivers rather than sit through all of them and quickly fast-forwarded to the receivers drills. I then took notice to a guy who caught my eye because of how short he looked. When I heard the commentators say his name I looked him up and realized I had watched this kid play before a few times. His name is Ryan Switzer wide receiver from North Carolina. How could I have forgotten about this kid after being so impressed with his play earlier in the year?

As I did more research about him, I saw he was listed at 5,9” officially and 5’10” by the university web page. He even appears shorter because it seems he has a longer torso and short stalky legs. This kid is an animal on special teams (2- time all ACC return specialist, 5 punt returns for touchdowns as a freshman)and was a hell of a receiver even though he would be best suited as a slot receiver. During the drills to which the quarterbacks throw to their receivers while they run the handful of given routes, you see many things from certain people.

Some guys tend to jog through the first part of the route, wait until the break then explode or vice versa. explode before the break and jog after. And of course, the one that drives me crazy, rounding off the cut or break. Ryan Switzer does none of these things. He is 100% full bore all the time. From when he first leaves the line of scrimmage, to his clean and crisp, sharp cut and all the way through to after the catch. There is one thing they can not measure at the combine, and that is heart.

Ryan Switzer appears to have all heart all the time. I don't know about you, but I'll trade a little bit of stature for more heart. The Chargers would truly benefit from adding a guy like this in the later rounds and if not then somebody else will. He has a very high ceiling and a very high floor. You could potentially have the next Julian Edelman/Emmanuel Sanders/Wes Welker type. At the absolute worst case scenario you have a bad ass kick and punt returner set in place for the next handful of years which we all know they could use since Travis Benjamin didn't exactly inspire us in that area.

I am open to the fact that I could be wrong but recently I have predicted several draft prospects correctly. David Johnson, Deon Buchannon, Jay Ajayi, Jarrod goff being a bust, and Jalen Mills. I'm more than confident Switzer will continue my hot streak of predicting draft prospects. I mean I seem to be right more often than most “experts.” I mean Mel Kiper Jr did say Ray Lewis was too small to play middle linebacker and had average athleticism......really? As my grandfather used to say “the most athletic thing some of these experts have done is jump to a conclusion” so rather than read and listen to “strengths” and “weaknesses” I prefer to trust my own eyes and judgment, he would instantly provide depth and be given the chance to adjust to NFL life.

As a 4th or 5th receiver on the depth chart, he would be an automatic upgrade over Dontrelle Inman who is over hyped. (stop lying to yourself Charger fans) because Inman only seems to get open against zone coverage. All the while during his first year presumably adjusting and putting on more bulk it would allow for Tyrell Williams to continue his progression and give Travis Benjamin another year to show he was worth the money. I give him a hall pass last year as he toughed it out with injuries.

Now keep in mind Switzer WILL fall in the draft making him probably available in the 5th on. Absolute highest I see him going is someone taking him in the 4th not wanting to chance he will be gone later, after all, it only takes one team to fall in love. I also won't be surprised to see him go undrafted based on a history of guys with similar complexion and stature. Cole Beasly went undrafted, Adam Humphreys (undrafted), Julian Edelman (7th round), Wes Welker (undrafted).

Sure it would be nice to grab a wideout earlier rather than later like a JuJu Smith or Curtis Samuel in the second or a Mike Williams in the first. I definitely wouldn't be mad at that. However wouldn't it benefit the team and development of younger guys to plug holes and even reach a little for needs like a safety or offensive lineman? Lord knows Melvin Gordon would love to see new lineman paving the way for him. Also, an elite safety would allow for the front seven to reach their potential. A guy like Ryan Switzer not only brings tremendous upside but allows you to fill other needs and add depth to important areas.

After all, we saw what kind of gems can be found in the 5th or later, Hence Jatavis Brown. By waiting and banking on a receiver like Ryan Switzer not only does it bring in a guy who can potentially make an immediate impact at the very least on special teams, but also allow to fill other needs all the while feeling like you drafted a wideout high because that's the type of gem he is. If you don't believe me watch the tape. Just for fun, I’ll even throw in a hype video.