Now that the 2021 offseason has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we are seeing over the course of the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: DB Tre Norwood
Stock Value: Purchased
Reasoning: The Steelers used their first of two seventh-round draft picks to select defensive back Tre Norwood, a diverse secondary piece who has played both outside and inside cornerback as well as safety at the college level.
Outside of specialist positions, the single greatest attribute that a late-round draft pick can possess in his efforts to help make the team is…availability, first and foremost. That is always the case for everybody, everywhere. But second only to that is versatility. The Steelers’ only rookie defensive back draft pick is capable of playing anywhere in the secondary — at least in theory.
Norwood played three seasons at Oklahoma, not including the 2019 season, which he missed in entirety due to an injury sustained in camp in August. In his first two seasons prior to that, he spent his time largely playing a traditional cornerback role. When he returned this past season, he primarily played safety, however, also moving down to line up in the slot liberally.
It was in that dual role that made his greatest impact. Five of his six career interceptions were recorded last year over 10 games, one of which he was able to return for a touchdown. As a defensive back, the ability to take the ball away happens to be another great way to sneak onto the roster if you’re drafted late.
But the Steelers are hoping he will be more Darren Perry than Gerod Holliman. Both were late-round draft pick safeties by the team a few decades apart who had polar opposite careers. Perry was a rookie starter who had an eight-year career. Holliman never made the practice squad.
There are openings in the secondary. Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Sean Davis, and Jordan Dangerfield all departed since last season. Norwood has been one of the few replacements, along with veteran free agent Arthur Maulet. But Norwood certainly won’t have a guaranteed roster spot. He’ll have to earn it all the way.