It must be cornerback week when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers and mock drafts. After recent editions had the team taking Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon and Georgia’s Kelee Ringo, CBS’ Josh Edwards is joining the secondary parade in his latest edition, giving the Steelers Penn State corner Joey Porter Jr. at #17. He writes:
“Pittsburgh continues the Porter legacy by selecting Joey’s son. The Steelers need help on the boundary and Porter has more than held his own in the Big Ten.”
CBS Sports’ 20th ranked prospect and fourth-best corner in a deep class, the dot-connecting here is as easy as ever. The son of former Steelers’ outside linebacker and coach Joey Porter Sr., the relationship here is obvious. In fact, Porter’s sons and Mike Tomlin’s sons played at the same high school together for a time, Porter Sr. and Tomlin going to games together. Pittsburgh has drafted several first rounders whose dads played in the NFL including DL Cam Heyward, SS Terrell Edmunds, and LB Devin Bush.
But Porter Jr. isn’t just the pick for his surname. One of college football’s top cornerbacks, he should wow at the Combine weigh-in. His arm length might be a record figure for a corner with some speculating he could have up to 35 inch arms, a number that would be eye-popping for an offensive tackle much less a corner. We’ll get official numbers early next month when Porter heads to Indianapolis.
Less notable are Porter’s career interceptions. He had just one, occurring in 2021 against Indiana. Pittsburgh has become takeaway-focused in recent years under Teryl Austin and Grady Brown, tying for the league-lead in interceptions with 20 in 2022, so that could be one real knock against him.
As Aj Alahny showed yesterday, Porter did grade out better in man coverage than zone coverage and the Steelers are among the most man-heavy teams in football, making him a strong scheme and system fit.
While Cam Sutton has good odds of being re-signed and cornerback wouldn’t be the team’s most glaring need, the value of the position and the strength of the class may compel the team to grab one at #17. With a strong quarterback class that will push other prospects down, it’s likely one of the top names will be there when the Steelers can turn their card in. Perhaps that’s Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez or Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon. Or perhaps it’s Porter Jr., who would be an extremely on-brand pick for the Steelers.
Check out our full report on Porter Jr. from Jonathan Heitritter below.