The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted from the postseason in the opening round, which unfortunately marks the fifth consecutive season in which they failed to win a postseason game—a new record for the franchise since the merger. Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.
The Steelers did arguably perform at or above expectations this year by going 9-7-1 and making the postseason at all, a reflection of just how much talent they lost during the offseason, from the majority of the offensive line to Mike Hilton, Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Vince Williams—not to mention Stephon Tuitt, essentially.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between head coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2021 season.
Player: Tre Norwood
Experience: 1 Year
Of the nine players the Steelers drafted last year, eight made the 53-man roster, and seven of them were meaningful contributors. Tre Norwood was the eighth player drafted, one of two seventh-round picks (the other being punter Pressley Harvin III), and he ended up playing a significant role in the defense.
In fact, he started the season opener as the team’s primary slot defender, logging 68 snaps in week one and then 50 in week two. They quickly adjusted his role after that, with Arthur Maulet earning the primary nickel spot, but he continued to play, often as the dime defender. He played double-digit snaps in all but five games.
When the Steelers drafted him, head coach Mike Tomlin announced the selection, and he announced Norwood’s position as ‘Swiss Army knife’. He personally embraces everything that the label ‘defensive back’ entails, and is equally comfortable at safety or in the slot. I’m sure he’ll tell you he can play boundary corner as well.
Pittsburgh isn’t going to ask that of him, with Cameron Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, and Levi Wallace (and James Pierre and Justin Layne) all there to play on the outside, but he still figures to have a significant role this year.
The signing of Wallace and re-signing of Witherspoon likely means that Norwood won’t open the year as the team’s nickel defense (Sutton will surely play in the slot, with either Witherspoon or Wallace coming on to play in the nickel on the outside), but he should still be the dime defender.
Who knows, at this point he could even be a starting safety. He is the most likely candidate currently on the roster, with Terrell Edmunds still sitting out there in free agency. Either way, though, they need to add depth at safety. Miles Killebrew and Donovan Stiner are the only others on the roster behind Minkah Fitzpatrick.