Raiders' Ryan Switzer says Cowboys miscast him as RB

One year later, the Dallas Cowboys are still trying to replace Lance Dunbar, and they're apparently on the backup to the backup plan.

After the Cowboys traded for Tavon Austin during the draft, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Dallas views the receiver as a running back who could fill a role similar to the one Dunbar held before leaving for L.A. in 2017.

The Cowboys had previously dabbled with filling that position by turning another receiver into a running back: Ryan Switzer.

After being traded from Dallas to Oakland following the Austin acquisition, Switzer spoke to Patrik Walker of 247Sports about his role with the Cowboys.

"The more I think on it, I think that they had a different plan for me than what I was capable of doing," Switzer said. "I don't know. Looking back I had two or three rushes in the NFL before receptions and I was taking reps at running back at times. I don't know if [they] were trying to use me as like a scat-back or what. There was a lot of talk about my high school days and being a RB and I don't think I ever fit that mold as a change-of-pace back or someone with slide sweeps and carries.

"I don't know if that's the plan they had for me [because] it was never spoken, but when I try to piece these things together -- that's kind of what I'm thinking. ... I think that had a little bit to do with it because I can't really think of anything else. ... I did, like coach [Jason] Garrett [told] me, I did everything [asked of me] and more. I felt like that, too. I'm not really sure. That's about as good of a guess as I have."

Switzer's usage outside of special teams bolsters his analysis. Before a throwaway Week 17 tilt versus Philadelphia, Switzer had two catches for nine yards, compared to four rushes for five yards (including one for minus-4). Before the final week, the 5-foot-8 receiver played a combined 26 passing-down snaps, according to NextGen Stats, never more than five in any single game.

A prolific slot receiver at the University of North Carolina, Switzer earned 96 catches his senior season, and exited with the most receptions and receiving yards in school history. Pigeonholing the slight receiver into a running back role seemed faulty on the face. In truth, the Cowboys couldn't figure out how to utilize the overlapping skills of Switzer and Cole Beasley.

"I did everything I could," Switzer told Walker. "I was one of those 'get there early, stay late' [players]. You know I had great practices. When I got my opportunity at the end of the year against Philly, I produced. I never really knew what they were going to do with [Beasley] and I."

Given the series of moves that led to his exit from Dallas, Switzer's assumption that they wanted him to be a scat-back to fill the Dunbar role makes sense. After adding Austin, Switzer became redundant at two positions.

Moving to Oakland should provide him a better opportunity to earn slot snaps.

"I know how successful I can be in this league as the receiver and just being one week with these guys and the offense with [Derek Carr], I feel a lot more confident from an offensive standpoint going into this year with Oakland," he said.

The 23-year-old is out to prove he can be an NFL receiver and that Dallas moved on too soon.

"I've always played with a chip on my shoulder but I never had anything like this happen, where I just felt disrespected," he said. "It's not something that's going to weigh me down and create a negative. I feel more so that it's going to be something that propels me and not that I needed any external motivation, but this is kind of nice. I gave my all to Dallas. I gave everything I had to the organization and I plan on doing the same thing in Oakland."