The Pittsburgh Steelers may well be targeting a cornerback in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft next month. So, too, might the Baltimore Ravens. And they would be competing for the prospects, if that proves to be the case, including one that hits close to home.
Joey Porter Sr. spent most of his career as an arch-rival of the Baltimore Ravens, but it’s entirely possible that his son winds up on the other side. And as he told reporters yesterday at the NFL Scouting Combine, the Penn State cornerback says he’s not bringing a hereditary grudge with him.
“I really never had ill will to Baltimore”, he said yesterday, via the Ravens’ website, when asked about growing up as the son of a Steeler. “That’s more my dad and his whole rivalry with them. I just love the game of football. If I end up there, that would be a blessing”.
The Steelers drafted the elder Porter in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft as an edge rusher out of Colorado St. He played his first seasons in Pittsburgh, recording 60 of his 99 career sacks and making three Pro Bowls, before playing five more seasons in Miami and Arizona. He helped them win the Super Bowl in 2005.
Porter the younger has spent the past four seasons at Penn State and is anticipated to be a first-round draft pick as an underclassman redshirt junior. While he only recorded one interception in his career, he is a highly regarded talent and registered 11 passes defensed in 2022.
The Ravens are in a transition at cornerback with Marcus Peters and Kyle Fuller both due to become unrestricted free agents. They are not expected to re-sign Peters. Fuller is still recovering from a season-ending injury.
While they still have Marlon Humphrey, the cornerback position is clearly not quite the strength that it once was for them, even if they have reinforced the safety position with the free agency acquisition of Marcus Williams and the drafting of Kyle Hamilton in the first round, with Chuck Clark still present.
Meanwhile, the Steelers are hoping to re-sign Cameron Sutton, but otherwise are relying upon the services of Levi Wallace, Ahkello Witherspoon, Arthur Maulet, and, if retained as a restricted free agent, James Pierre in their own secondary.
Of course, Porter isn’t the only cornerback likely to be drafted in the first round. Christian Gonzalez, Devon Witherspoon, Deonte Banks, and Clark Phillips III could also potentially be in play, though as the Steelers have figured out before, it doesn’t always work out when you draft for position.
Pittsburgh does hold the 17th overall pick while the Ravens sit at 22, so if they are going to end up competing for Porter, the Steelers will have an advantage. Baltimore tends to be more free to trade, though they don’t have a deep history of trading up in the first round. In fact, they typically trade backward.