FRISCO, Texas – When the Cowboys break the huddle during these OTA practices, the first-team offense is full of familiar faces.
Those three Pro Bowlers on the offensive line come to the line of scrimmage, followed by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. Then there's Jason Witten and Dez Bryant flanked out to the side. And they are all usually joined inside in the slot by … Ryan Switzer?
Yes, that's exactly how the first-team offense has looked for the majority of these offseason practices. And when the second unit gets in, there's Switzer right there again, getting another set of reps.
But for the fourth-round pick out of North Carolina, he certainly isn't complaining.
"This is great for me," Switzer said. "This is what I need to really learn the system, and so for me to get here and get all these reps, I couldn't ask for a better situation."
Now, Switzer knows the deal. He fully understands that Cole Beasley is being held out for minor injury reasons. He also knows Lucky Whitehead and even Quincy McDuffie have been limited in practices, opening the door even more for Switzer, who has been taking nearly all of the reps in the slot.
"It's big. You don't want anyone going down, but obviously, the more work I can get with Dak and Kellen [Moore], the better it is for me," he said. "I can create a trust with those guys and when they see me in live action and competing, you can build that camaraderie. I've got to make sure I make myself presentable and when my number is called, I make a play."
And from the sounds of things – or at least from the sound of his quarterback – Switzer is doing just that.
Last week, Prescott dubbed Switzer "quarterback friendly," a compliment the young receiver said is one of the highest he could get at this stage of his just-getting-started career.
"It's a big compliment. It's something I can continue to build on," Switzer said. "This offense is predicated on making good decisions in your route-running, which is something that is my strong suit. Hopefully down the road as I continue to progress, that camaraderie and relationship with me and him continues to perform."
Switzer said Beasley has taken him "under his wing" since the first day he got to The Star.
"I really couldn't have asked for a better situation," Switzer said. "Cole has been a big part of why my transition has been what it is. Even though he's not going, he's out there. He's helping me with my mental reps. It's another set of eyes. He's been helpful, but I can't wait until he's back so I can learn even more from him."
But Switzer also knows Beasley's return doesn't necessarily mean he'll be watching from the sidelines. While it's still early in the process, the rookie is hopeful he'll be involved in packages that have both of them on the field together.
"We're not through the playbook yet, but there's obviously some personnel and formations that are really predicated on getting us both out there at the same time," Switzer said. "I know Coach [Scott] Linehan has a plan for me and a plan for us. I'm ready to get out there with Cole and create some mismatches.
"But whatever best suits the offense will be what we do. I'm just hoping to be a part of it."
As it stands in early June, Switzer is a very big part of the offense. Now, he's just hoping it stays that way come September.