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Steelers All 90: Tre Norwood Taking on a ‘Young Veteran’ Role



Steelers CB/S Tre Norwood at OTAs

With the recent influx of young talent into the Pittsburgh Steelers secondary, Tre Norwood is beginning to feel like a veteran despite still having two seasons on his rookie contract. Norwood recognized the diversity of the Steelers secondary and is starting to seperate himself from the “young guys” due to his time under Mike Tomlin and within the Steelers system itself.

“We have a lot of great young guys that have come in, like myself going into year three.” said Norwood. “I am more on the younger side of the [veteran] role being able to be in the same system. I have a lot of experience with this defense, with this coaching staff.”

With Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice joining the secondary, and even pushing Patrick Peterson into more of a slot role as a result, Norwood will have to make that experience a significant advantage, especially considering his playing time has been trending the wrong direction.

The 24-year old played in a​​ lesser role a season ago compared to his impressive rookie season after being drafted in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Last season, Norwood appeared in only 10 games as he made one start and played a total of 243 snaps all season. In comparison, Norwood played in all 17 games in his rookie season and had a snap total of 388. A problem that arose with Norwood in his second year was missed tackles. Norwood had a missed tackle rate of 28.6% in comparison to 15% his rookie season.

Norwood’s playing time also got slashed due to the team signing Damontee Kazee who brings a lot of the same attributes to the table but better and more polished. Once Kazee returned in Week 10 from an injury suffered in training camp, the role was his and Norwood lost his spot on the defense. Both guys play in a multi-position role and in Norwood’s case, he has seen the most playing time as a free safety and slot cornerback.

For somebody that Tomlin called a swiss-army knife type of player to get only 15 snaps over the back half of the season, work is needed to be put in on Norwood’s side if he wants to carve out a role for himself on the Steelers defense in 2023.

21 • Tre Norwood, Cornerback, Oklahoma
6-foot-0, 194 pounds, 24 years old, 3rd Season

Acquired: The Steelers drafted Norwood in the seventh round (245th overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma. Norwood is entering the third year of his rookie contract.

Last season: Norwood appeared in ten games for the Steelers last season as he recorded 16 tackles and no interceptions. Norwood appeared in the first nine games of the season and played over 30 snaps in four of those games. Norwood’s role diminished upon the arrival of Damonte Kazee in Week 10.

He played a total of 71 snaps against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and racked up 4 tackles in the game while being targeted four times for two receptions. This was the game where the secondary was ravaged with injuries and saw the likes of Josh Jackson on the field. Norwood did not allow a touchdown while in coverage but had a 28.6% missed tackle rate in 2022.

Steelers Panthers

CHARLOTTE, NC – AUGUST 27: Terrace Marshall Jr. (88) wide receiver for Carolina is tackled by Tre Norwood (21) defensive back for Pittsburg during an NFL preseason football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Carolina Panthers on August 27, 2021 at Bank of America Stadium i9n Charlotte, N.C. (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire)

CareerThe Steelers drafted Norwood in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of the University of Oklahoma.

During his rookie season in Pittsburgh, Norwood played 388 snaps as a rookie which included as a starter at the slot cornerback position in the season opener at Buffalo. He also started in a game against the Chargers at free safety in 2021.

Norwood’s most memorable play is his game-sealing interception against the Cleveland Browns in Ben Roethlisberger’s final home game as a member of the Steelers in 2021.

Last season, Norwood relieved a injured Terrell Edmunds against the Jets and then started the next week at strong safety. Norwood struggled in the first half of 2022 and once Kazee returned in Week 10, Norwood only saw defensive snaps in two more games and recorded only 15 snaps.

In his career, Norwood has played 260 snaps at free safety, 229 in the slot, 126 inside of the box, 12 at outside cornerback and even four on the defensive line. Tomlin once called Norwood a “Swiss Army Knife” in regard to the type of player he could be.

Year GP Tackles Catch % TDs Allowed Interceptions PFF Rating
2021 17 31 75.0 2 1 50.0
2022 10 16 50.0 0 0 35.3

CollegeNorwood started five games as a true freshman in 2017 at Oklahoma before becoming a full-time starter the following season. His best season in college was in 2018 as a sophomore as he recorded 38 tackles, two tackles for loss, one interception, and five defended passes.

In 2019, Norwood suffered a season ending injury in training camp which resulted in him missing his entire junior season. Norwood bounced back in 2020 as he regained his starting position midway through the season and went on to lead the Big 12 in interceptions with five including one for a touchdown.

2017 8 22 0 1
2018 12 29 1 1
2019 0 0 0 0
2020 9 14 5 1

Salary cap and future: Norwood is in his third year of his four-year rookie contract and will count for $963,610 against the Steelers 2023 cap space. Next season, his last of the rookie deal, the Norwood will count for $1.078 against the cap. He will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2024 season.

The rest of the 90: