Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin announced former Oklahoma defensive back Tre Norwood to the world as their new “Swiss Army Knife” safety, a moniker Norwood is happy to have.
Norwood had to wait all the way until the seventh round to hear his named called for this past weekend's NFL Draft, but he said he was fortunate to be headed to an organization with the history of the Steelers.
“It’s a blessing just to be able to hear my name called and be able to speak to Coach Tomlin on the phone,” he said on a Zoom call with local Pittsburgh media. “[The Steelers are] a historical organization, an organization any football fan knows about.”
After recovering from an ACL injury which robbed him of the 2019 season, Norwood came on strong down the stretch in 2020 for the Sooners defense.
Moving all around the back end of the OU defense, Norwood’s ball-hawking instincts led him to pick off five passes over the span of six games, tied for third best in the country despite not playing a major role until midway through the season.
Tomlin isn’t the only one to recognize the value in his versatility, as he said his coaches at Oklahoma always acknowledged his ability to handle multiple positions.
“A Swiss Army Knife, that’s something that my coaches kind of used to describe me in college as well so I feel like that’s a great description of me,” he said. “I’m a guy that in college I played everywhere. I’ve always prided myself in being able to know every position, I feel like that’s helped me out a lot over my career.”
Not afraid to get his hands dirty on special teams, Norwood will draw on his experience playing a bevy of different positions to ensure he secures a roster spot in camp with the Steelers, but he did say he has a preferred spot if given the choice.
“If I had to pinpoint a position, I’d say probably that slot, that nickel position,” he said. “Just being able to be effective in the run game, the pass game, in man and in zone.”
If he can make the roster, Norwood’s ball skills will form a perfect match with the Steelers. A year ago, Pittsburgh were the third best team in the NFL in passing yards allowed, and tied for the league lead with 18 interceptions.
Norwood will have a tough battle ahead, as the odds will be stacked against the No. 245-overall pick, but his positional flexibility is the ideal trait to have when trying to stick on an NFL roster through a training camp battle.