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Ryan Switzer raising hand for Steelers slot WR

In the aftermath of Antonio Brown departing from the Steelers to the Raiders, the spotlight is shining upon JuJu Smith-Schuster taking over the undisputed lead role in the Pittsburgh receiving corps.

But who will fill Smith-Schuster's shoes, which were most often running in the slot over the last two seasons?

Another third-year pro, Ryan Switzer, regarded more as a kick returner, is aiming for a shot.

"It takes a different kind of guy to work the middle of the field, be able to be on the same page as the quarterback," Switzer said via's Jonathan Bombulie. "There's a lot of different reads and a lot of different adjustments you've got to make in the middle of the field. I'm getting the hang of it. I'm, obviously, not there yet, but I'm working on it."

In reality, Smith-Schuster will still line up in the slot, at least from time to time, and so too will Eli Rogers, Donte Moncrief and rookie Diontae Johnson.

At 5-foot-8, 185 pounds with the ability to make plays he's shown on punt and kick returns, though, Switzer is a prime candidate to lock down a prominent role there should he continue to improve in the receiving game.

As a rookie in 2017 in Dallas, he only had six catches for 41 yards on seven targets.

Dallas shipped him to Oakland in the spring of 2018 and not long after, a trade to Pittsburgh came to be and Switzer's promise in the receiving game came to fruition. He caught 36 balls (on 44 targets) for 253 yards. Hardly eye-popping, but it was a start; it was an opportunity to foster chemistry with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and reason for optimism as the Steelers' receiving ranks are being retooled heading into 2019.

"The more reps that you get, the more game experience you get, the better the feel and the better you get," Switzer said. "It helps when you've got a quarterback who's done it for a long time and has a lot of experience in that area. He's kind of molded me as the year went on. I'm learning from those experiences. Hopefully, we'll put them to the test this year."

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