In announcing the selection, Mike Tomlin called Tre Norwood a “Swiss Army Knife.” And out of the gate, that’s how the team intends to use him. Norwood spoke to reporters via Zoom after Day One of rookie minicamp and said the Steelers plan to take advantage of his versatility.
“As of right now, it’s learning a little bit of everything,” he told reporters in a Zoom call provided by the team. “Moving forward, if that’s what my role will be, I’ll be glad to take on that role. That’s something I did in college well. Something I’m familiar with. Right now, it’s kinda learning everything but getting it down so I can play at a high level and play fast on the field.”
At Oklahoma, Norwood bounced between safety and cornerback. That versatility could give him added value, crucial for any late draft pick, which will only increase his chances of making the roster. Cam Sutton became valuable to the team, even as their sixth defensive back, because of his ability to play anywhere in the secondary.
Norwood explained how he was used in college.
“My first two years was corner. This last season, I had a great amount at nickel and safety. I would go back and forth between the both of them. So for me, the comfort level at any one of them, I feel like I’ve got a lot of reps at each of those positions. Wherever the coaches see fit for me, wherever I can help out the team the best, that’s the position I’m more comfortable with.”
In three years with the Sooners, Norwood broke up 14 passes and intercepted six. Five of those picks came in 2020 and helped convince Norwood to declare early for the draft. He may not have great size or athleticism but neither did Sutton or Mike Hilton. They won with their smart and versatility.
There is always the concern of putting too much on a rookies plate and not allowing him to fully learn one position. The team made that mistake with Sean Davis, bouncing him between slot corner and both safety spots in the first couple years of his career. But shifting around the secondary isn’t anything new for Norwood and he did it in one of college football’s strongest conferences. That’ll give him an edge heading into the summer.