2023 Stock Watch – S Tre Norwood – Down

With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we turn our attention to the offseason. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.

Player: S Tre Norwood

Stock Value: Down

Reasoning: Third-year defensive back Tre Norwood doesn’t appear to be any closer to carving out a niche in defensive sub-packages than he was a year ago. While the Steelers lost Terrell Edmunds in free agency, they retained Damontae Kazee and added Keanu Neal, who along with Minkah Fitzpatrick should help comprise their dime defense in 2023.

Tre Norwood was virtually shut out of playing time once Damontae Kazee stepped onto the field after returning from a broken arm. He logged all of 16 defensive snaps after the bye week, spanning two games, and in both either Terrell Edmunds or Minkah Fitzpatrick was absent.

He still logged 243 defensive snaps in all, even if the vast majority came in the first eight games, registering 23 tackles with two for loss. He did not have a single pass defensed, after recording four, including an interception, during his rookie season in 2021.

The Steelers appeared to trust Norwood more as a rookie, even having him open the season as the primary nickel defender, although that strategy quickly diverged. He did log nearly 150 more defensive snaps that season.

But the Steelers didn’t have a seasoned veteran third safety like Kazee available. And now they have Kazee and Neal, instead of Kazee and Edmunds, which as it concerns Norwood is pretty much a push, because the odds of him getting on the field before either of them is the same.

He still has a significant role on special teams, after logging more than 150 snaps there in 2022. One should also not lose sight of the value of an experienced fourth safety. Norwood would be called upon to play should any of the top three get injured, and he can play in any role the Steelers ask of him.

Indeed, his versatility at this point in his career is his greatest attribute. He’s not going to be a run-stuffing box defender, but he does play with instincts and can play in the slot or on the back end and can be asked to carry out most strong safety responsibilities.

Be that as it may, the way the roster is currently shaping up, Norwood isn’t likely to see the field much barring injury. The Steelers are very likely to add at least one more defensive back through the draft that is going to garner playing time, possibly a starting cornerback. That will make it more difficult for Norwood to see time in sub-packages by supplementing the depth there even further. His best shot is as a slot defender, but that’s not his greatest asset.

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