Most fans probably don’t give two thoughts about the majority of players who are drafted in the seventh round, unless they are punters and you happen to hate your team’s current punter. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, there was a lot more talk about Pressley Harvin III back in May then there was about Tre Norwood.
Not to pit one against the other. The reality is that both of them are already contributing, which is pretty remarkable. Harvin defeated Jordan Berry for the punting job, and Norwood has been a versatile defensive back this year. He had his biggest game of the season last night, tallying three defensive stops on third downs, two of which came in the first quarter.
The rookie ended the Seattle Seahawks’ first drive of the game when he made a great read on a 3rd-and-4 pass to big wide receiver D.K. Metcalf, tackling him after a two-yard gain. He talked about what he saw on that play, speaking to the media earlier today.
“Just the call that we had on that, it allows guys to free up depending on what the offense does”, he said. “It just so happened that he was running the mesh route, and I was able to free up and kind of read off the quarterback. Then just seeing the ball come out of his hands and making a good break on it and going to make that play”.
That was just one of a handful of plays that he made, however, including a stop in the second half on a 3rd-and-10 play in which he recorded a tackle for loss. But he had another significant stop on third down in the first quarter, working against Tyler Lockett, and he explained what gives him confidence in his abilities in these moments.
“Just going back to my preparation within the week, taking in the coaching, taking in the film study, and applying it to the practice field”, he said. “It just leads to me being comfortable out there on Sundays, and just knowing what the call is, knowing my technique within the call, and then just playing free, trusting in myself, trusting in my call, trusting in my brothers around me on the defensive side of the ball”.
That’s not bad for a rookie seventh-round pick. Certainly a lot better than the sort of production the Steelers have gotten out of late-round picks in recent years. Along with James Pierre and Arthur Maulet, Norwood has been making up the valuable depth of this secondary so far this year following key losses to the group this offseason.