The term “Swiss Army Knife” has gone from a noun, a physical object, to and adjective used to describe someone who can do a lot of things. This has even bled into the sport of football, and is a term Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin loves to use when describing players.
The latest player to be given the distinction of a “Swiss Army Knife” is the team’s 7th round draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Tre Norwood.
Norwood, who comes to Pittsburgh via the Oklahoma Sooners, can play both cornerback and safety, and his versatility is something which he takes a serious amount of pride in.
“I take a lot of pride in that,” Norwood told Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. “That is one of the main things I have always prided myself on in college. First, it’s the mental aspect of understanding every position in the back end, what is going on there. Just being able to have the ability and mental capability to not only go out there and play the positions, but do it at a high level, be productive, and contribute to the team is something I take huge pride in and I will continue to take pride in.
“I feel like it helps me a lot that I am not a one-dimensional guy. Any position on the back end I can play and do it at a high level. Any position I need to play on the back end to help the team get to the ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl, that is what I am there for.”
It seems fitting Norwood is this type of player, especially as the Steelers’ current jack of all trades, Cam Sutton, just received a nice new contract with a bigger role within Keith Butler’s unit. Sutton is another player who could do it all in the back end, and the question is whether Norwood could fill Sutton’s vacated role? It certainly won’t be easy, but Norwood doesn’t consider the job of knowing all of the secondary positions as difficult.
“I don’t look at it as challenging,” said Norwood. “It’s something I intentionally wanted to do when I got to college. Once I had the opportunity to do it, I took pride in it. I look at it as more opportunity. I am blessed to be able to do that, to be able to move around on the back end and play all of the positions.”
The potential of Norwood is tantalizing, but fans should also remember Norwood was drafted in the final round of the draft for a reason. Norwood will have to prove a lot to just make the team as the preseasons comes to a close, let alone have any type of role with the team outside of special teams.
It is easy to fall in love with draft picks, but the odds of Norwood stepping into the organization and getting a role early are not in his favor. It doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but it is unlikely in 2021. In the meantime, Norwood will have to earn a roster spot, even if it is just on special teams, and continue to develop his game.
Doing the same thing Sutton did before him...
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.