From now until the 2021 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#13 Tre Norwood/DB/Oklahoma — 5’11”, 192 lbs.
– Terrific coverage instincts for the position; consistently jumps routes and makes plays on the football
– Ball skills through the roof; recorded five interceptions in 2020
– Fluid athlete able to change directions with ease; loose hips overall
– Impressive click-and-close speed to break up throws or reach the ball carrier in space
– Versatile defender with good speed to play boundary, slot or overhang safety
– Physical at the catchpoint and will rarely be outmuscled by receiver
– Stays in phase well, making up for lack of length and recovery speed
– Lacks adequate recovery speed for the position
– Physicality and want-to in run support is lacking; will fill the lane but struggles overall to finish against the run
– Allowed receivers to stake him on the outside in man
– Lacks overall length for the position
– Moved to safety due to inability to stay in man coverage
– Played in 39 career games at Oklahoma, starting 24 career games for the Sooners
– Missed all of 2019 season with a torn ACL
– Finished career with 111 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, six interceptions, 21 pass deflections
– Big 12 co-leader and tied for third nationally with five interceptions
– Named Outstanding Defensive Player of the 2020 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
It’s rare you find a defensive back in the NFL draft with as much experience at both corner and safety as Oklahoma’s Tre Norwood has coming out of college.
A starting corner for the Sooners as a true freshman, Norwood more than held his own the first two years at cornerback, but the standout corner tore his ACL, missing the entire 2019 season, eventually forcing a move to safety for 2020.
That move helped unlock Norwood’s true potential, allowing him to play in the slot and in the box, reading the QB’s eyes, leading to a career-high five interceptions in his senior season.
Though he’s not a physical player overall and won’t live in the box in the NFL, his instincts and ability to be around the football on a consistent basis will play at the next level.
The thing that stands out with Norwood is his ability to change directions and stay in-phase with receivers. He’s able to flip his hips easily and close on throws with his closing speed.
Here against Florida in the 2020 Cotton Bowl, Norwood made a splash play quickly out of the slot, flipping his hips and closing on the out route for the pick six.
Watch how in control he is with his lower half here. Norwood rarely wastes movement.
Norwood is here at the bottom of the screen against Oklahoma State as a freshman corner.
He’s in control the entire time with solid footwork to stay with the receiver, closing late on the throw to break up the pass.
Here against Baylor, Norwood is in the slot and does a great job reading the quarterback’s eyes, jumping the in-breaking route for the interception.
Playing off man allows him to read the quarterback’s eyes, which he’s extremely comfortable doing in his slot/safety role. As a former corner, he has a feel for what receivers want to do. That puts him in position to make plays on the football.
Norwood just consistently finds himself around the football and finishes off plays when he has the opportunity to.
Though he lacks overall length and explosiveness, he rarely lost jump ball situations throughout his career at Oklahoma. Here, he reads the quarterback’s eyes and sinks underneath the corner route, making it a difficult throw that he was able to take away.
Ball skills are Norwood’s calling card coming out of Oklahoma. Deflections are rarely finished off, but Norwood made a knack of it, making plays on the football on all sorts of deflections with his solid hand-eye coordination.
Overall, Norwood won’t provide much against the run in the box and might not be a great special teams player. He has the versatility to eventually develop into a solid rotational defensive back that can get onto the field in obvious passing situations with his instincts and ball skills.
Games Watched: Oklahoma State (2017), Texas (2017), Baylor (2017), Iowa State (2020), Texas (2020), Kansas (2020), Texas tech (2020), Florida (2020)