With a look to the offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the process of shaping their summer roster. They re-signed nearly everyone on their practice squad, sans Tyler Murphy, to future deals that can keep this players through camp. They also added several players from outside the organization, as is the norm, to futures deal. We’ll take you through each one and give you the skinny on each player. Nothing incredibly in-depth but enough background on each to get your familiar with who these people are.
Levi Norwood/WR 6’0/4 197 – Baylor
Born in State College but played high school ball in Texas, the Mecca of the sport, Norwood intended to go back and play for Penn State. He committed in Feburary but asked for his release, and was granted, in May, deciding to go to Baylor to be close to family, including his father, Brian, who moved from Penn State to become the Bears’ defensive coordinator.
Not one season was spectacular but all were respectable. He received work as the team’s kick and punt returner in 2011, his redshirt year, and never looked back. His kickoff averages, as Matthew Marczi pointed out, were just average, but he did post respectable numbers on the punt team. 2013 was his best year there, averaging 9.6 yards on 25 returns and scoring twice.
For a glimpse, here’s a fan video of a 45 yard return in 2014.
2013 was also his best year as a receiver, hauling in 47 receptions for 733 yards, and 7 touchdowns in Baylor’s high-flying attack. Art Briles runs a unique offense, one that will mandate its receivers to take plays off – as a blocker and route runner – if the play is not intended to go their way. He went undrafted but signed with the Chicago Bears as a UDFA, cut at the end of the preseason.
Not tied directly to football, Norwood will be easy to spot, even as one of 90 players on the Steelers’ roster, should he make it to training camp. He has put great work into his afro, a topic the Chicago Sun-Times hit on over the summer.
Though you do need as many receivers as any position in training camp, the Steelers sure are bringing in every receiver they can. Different shapes and sizes with an array of backgrounds. Tobias Palmer is a tiny speedster. Issac Blakeney is a hulking, slower one. Levi Norwood falls somewhere inbetween. Just over six foot, he turned in a 4.6 flat at his Pro Day in 2015.
His odds are about the same as those others – long – but the dearth of receivers brought in could suggest the Steelers are going against the grain and will not draft a receiver, as they have done all but twice since 2004. As we saw with Shakim Phillips and Eli Rogers, even unheralded receivers can make noise with Rogers performing well early in camp and Phillips latching onto a practice squad role all season long.