September 27, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (59) chases Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jordan Norwood (10) after a catch at M&T Bank Stadium. Ravens beat the Browns 23-16. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Norwood is not the biggest or the fastest wide receiver on the Denver Broncos’ roster, but he might just be the best of a solid group of guys battling it out for the potential sixth and final spot on the roster.
Norwood has slowly been creeping his way into the 2nd offensive unit rotation, and made some really nice plays in the Broncos’ pre-season opener against the Seattle Seahawks.
On the night, he was targeted three times by Brock Osweiler and made three catches for 51 yards, including a gorgeous 34-yard touchdown toss that wound up being the game-winner.
Norwood’s other big play came on a punt return, which he took 20 yards. Most people feel like the Broncos will keep five receivers if no one forces them to keep a sixth and someone that can lock down the punt returner job, so Norwood is going to have to work his tail off to make the team.
That being said, there are no real viable options for the Broncos at the punt return spot unless they specifically keep someone to do it. We all saw last year that it is not a job Wes Welker should have. It’s also not a job the team felt return specialist Trindon Holliday should have, so they let him go to the Giants.
With Holliday’s departure came a gaping hole at the PR spot which was a bit of a revolving door last year when Holliday found himself in the doghouse. If over the next three games Norwood or undrafted rookie Isaiah Burse can separate from the rest of the pack, there’s a chance the Broncos will have a very tough decision to make in regards to their final roster cutdowns.
Norwood has the advantage of having played some in regular season NFL games already. In 2011 and 2012, he caught a total of 36 passes while with the Cleveland Browns. He hasn’t played since the 2012 season, but he was originally brought to Cleveland by Tom Heckert, the former Browns GM who is now in the Broncos’ front office.
That previous experience, plus his initial impression in the pre-season, lead me to believe that there’s more to the story with Norwood that we haven’t uncovered yet. It’s really exciting to see players break through and make an impact and force their way onto the roster, and Norwood certainly has overcome a lot in his NFL career to get to this point.