Cole Beasley has been a reliable slot receiver for the Dallas Cowboys in recent years, but could rookie Ryan Switzer steal his job?
Cole Beasley has been one of the nicer surprises in the NFL since he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent back in 2012. Beasley was a quarterback during his college days at SMU, but made the transition to wide receiver due to his diminutive 5 ft. 8, 180 pound frame.
Since making the transition, Beasley has proved to be a reliable option in the slot for both Tony Romo and more recently, Dak Prescott. Despite having a career year last season with 75 catches, 833 yards and five touchdowns while serving as Prescott’s favorite target, his job may not be as secure as one might think.
This is due to the selection of North Carolina receiver Ryan Switzer in the fourth round of this past NFL draft, who at first glance appears to be a younger, cheaper, and possibly even better option to Beasley in the slot.
For starters, Switzer appears to be the better option as a punt returner– a job that was split between Beasley and Lucky Whitehead last season. Switzer returned 7 punts for touchdowns during his time at UNC, which was one shy of the NCAA record.
"“I think I’m the best returner in the draft, and I think Dallas knew that,” Switzer told DallasCowboys.com after the draft."
Secondly, he’s a much more polished receiver than Beasley was coming out of college– for pretty obvious reasons (Beasley was still a quarterback and Switzer has been a wide receiver all throughout his college tenure).
Regardless, Switzer’s college receiving stats were undoubtedly impressive, and last year he put up his most gaudy numbers with 96 catches, 1,112 receiving yards and six touchdowns. He also proved to be the most reliable inside receiver in college last year, with a 2.33 drop rate— lower than any other receiver working out of the slot.
With Beasley nursing a hamstring injury, Switzer has been working with the first team offense in OTA’s, and has apparently turned heads thus far. He’s picked up the playbook relatively fast, and has already made several nice grabs in camp–including an impressive one-hander.
Switzer says the Cowboys’ offense is perfect for his skill-set, and even pointed to Beasley’s success last season as further proof.
"“Their offense is really friendly to the position that I play, that’s why [Cole Beasley] led them in catches and yards last year,” Switzer told the Dallas Morning News."
While Beasley’s job is most likely safe to start the season, don’t be surprised if his younger, more athletic clone makes a claim for his job. Especially if his hamstring injury proves to be a nagging one. Hey if it could happen to Tony Romo, who says it can’t happen to Cole Beasley?