Good news, Steelers Nation. After being subjected to a mind numbing amount of mock drafts and plenty of unsubstantiated speculation during what seemed like an inordinately long pre-draft process, minus the Scouting Combine to break up the monotony, the 2021 NFL Draft is finally upon us. I have been given the distinguished task of trying to apply a letter grade to each Steelers selection.
There are specific criteria necessary when attempting to accurately and fairly grade any draft pick. Only time will reveal the validity of any grade given, but I will utilize certain parameters as I attempt to apply an initial grade for each Steelers draft pick. I base each grade on projected roster fit, potential immediate impact, and assumed draft value. Draft value is achieved by evaluating each players actual selection against their projected draft position, whether that be player rankings or projected round.
The Pittsburgh Steelers selected DB Tre Norwood from the Oklahoma Sooners with the 245th selection of the 2021 NFL Draft. Steelers HC Mike Tomlin announced the pick on live television. While doing so, he called Norwood a swiss army knife type of safety. The moniker given to the young man speaks to his versatility and position flexibility. Kind of like a jack of all trades but a master of none. He has experience at corner, safety, and nickel back. Based on the aforementioned parameters listed above, I am giving the Tre Norwood selection an initial draft grade of a C.
Norwood stands 6' and weighs 192 lbs. After missing the 2019 season due to a torn ACL, Norwood really came on strong as a big play producer for the Sooners defense, particularly over the final six games as his knee continued to gain strength. He had five interceptions over the final six games, including returning one for a touchdown against Florida in the Sooners Cotton Bowl victory. He ran a 4.58 forty and had a 33.5" vertical, not particularly noteworthy numbers for a defensive back, but keep in mind he may still not be fully recovered from the knee injury. He has shown that he continues to gain strength and confidence in the knee as time goes by.
Norwood has some athletic deficiencies that limit his usage. He lacks the recovery speed to excel on the outside, and the physicality and tenacity preferred in the slot. He is not a proficient tackler, where his lack of physicality makes him utilize the grab and drag technique. This limits his usage to the free safety position when deep.
Norwood has solid instincts and football IQ. He has shown soft hands and ball hawking tendencies. He reminds me of former Steelers CB William Gay Sr. due to his physique and limitations, but also for his instincts and feel for the game. If he can make an early impact on special teams and show flashes of his versatility during training camp, he could compete for a roster spot. A spot on the practice squad is probably a more realistic destination.
Now we want to hear from the BTSC community and from Steelers Nation. What do you think about the Tre Norwood selection and what initial grade would you give it. Please place your vote in the attached poll and share your reasoning in the comment section below.
I am pleased to welcome Tre Norwood to the Steelers family on behalf of the BTSC staff and community. Go Steelers!
What initial draft grade would you give this Steelers selection?
This poll is closed
A = Excellent selection
B = Above average selection
C = Solid selection
D = Below average selection
F = Terrible selection