Now that we’ve said goodbye to all of the prominent members of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster from a year ago, it’s time to introduce ourselves to the new blood. Many of them, of course, are draft picks, but the team also ended up picking up numerous players via free agency, the majority of whom we’ll likely be seeing in-season at some point.
Roster turnover is an inevitability in the NFL, but the 2021 season marked greater change than normal. Some of those adjustments will be accounted for internally, but it will also require the supplementing of a number of new components, which we’ll be reintroducing ourselves to over the course of this series.
Last up for the draft picks are a pair of seventh-round picks, and perhaps both of them can be considered inside the roster bubble. First up is defensive back Tre Norwood, who has been reported on with a positive spin going back to OTAs. Coming off a final collegiate season in which he picked off five passes, he has continued his thieving ways in Steelers training camp, which has had reporters asking his teammates about him.
Head coach Mike Tomlin announced the selection when they drafted him, and he referred to Norwood as a “Swiss Army knife safety”. So far, however, he is only reserving the latter half of that title for his new defensive back; and perhaps that’s a compliment to him.
More recently, he talked about wanting to get Norwood anchored down at safety before they start moving around, but stressed that there would be time for that. Realistically, though, where they can use him most is to serve as a viable option to be the team’s backup free safety.
While he can play in the slot, the Steelers have options there, seemingly headed by Antoine Brooks Jr., in competition against Arthur Maulet, but outside starting cornerback Cameron Sutton can also slide inside.
They don’t have much depth at safety behind their starters. Miles Killebrew is listed as the paired strong safety with Norwood on the second team, while the third team consists of a rookie college free agent tandem of Donovan Stiner and Lamont Wade, of whom we have heard little so far.
Given the lack of depth, it would be a stunner, where we currently stand, if Norwood doesn’t have an inside track to make the 53-man roster, as he is arguably their first off the bench right now, which probably says more about their options than it does about him.
It is still possible that Pittsburgh can acquire more safety talent, either on the open market or via trade, before the regular season starts. They could add somebody off the waiver wire after roster cuts, as well. Their initial 53-man roster last year had Curtis Riley as their top backup, whom they added in training camp. After roster cuts were made, they waived Riley and brought back Sean Davis.