The Pittsburgh Steelers currently seem to be poised to have four safeties on their 53-man roster for Week 1 of the regular season with rookie Tre Norwood expected to be one of them. In fact, it certainly seems right now that it’s likely that Norwood has a good shot at being the Steelers backup free safety behind starter Minkah Fitzpatrick as well, and especially judging by what defensive backs coach Teryl Austin said on Tuesday during his media session.
On Tuesday, Austin was asked to comment on Norwood and specifically on what he has seen so far out of the seventh-round draft pick and if he has a chance to be the team’s backup safety as a rookie.
“I like Tre,” Austin said. “I think Tre’s shown kind of what we saw on tape. Very smart, very aware. Going to be where he needs to be around the ball. So, he’s working in the right direction and the kid’s been out here every snap, every practice, hasn’t missed a thing. So, those things are trending up and I like that moving into the season.”
Norwood, who played his college football at Oklahoma, was drafted by the Steelers in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He has appeared in all three preseason games so far and even leads the team in snaps played with 150 in total. He’s shown up some on special teams to boot and that’s also a great sign.
Currently, Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds are obviously the Steelers two starting safeties with the former playing the free safety position. In addition to Norwood, veteran Miles Killebrew is also expected to make the 53-man roster as a safety. Killebrew, a special teams ace, is best suited to play strong safety should he asked to play any on defense. Norwood is best suited to play free safety.
It will be interesting to see if the Steelers remain confident in Norwood the next few weeks. With him being a rookie, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Steelers maybe sign a more experienced free safety-type after teams around the league make their final roster cuts. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert might possibly try to trade for a backup safety in the next few weeks as well. For now, however, Austin makes it sound like Norwood is a roster lock at this point of the summer.
“I think he’s worked his way to be up in there and be in that discussion to be the next safety in the game,” Austin said on Tuesday of Norwood.