With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we have turned our attention to the offseason. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.
Player: CB Joey Porter Jr.
Stock Value: Purchased
Reasoning: The Steelers had Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. served up to them on a silver platter, only to have platters of other valuable medals dangled in front of them containing unknown dishes. They went with what was in front of them, pulling the trigger on drafting him with the first selection of the second round rather than accepting one of several trade offers from other teams eager to move up.
My question of the day Friday was a popular one, unsurprisingly. When a player widely mocked to you in the first round throughout the offseason process is suddenly available to you in the second round, and you have all night to think about it, it’s going to attract some attention.
At least until perhaps the final week or so of the pre-draft process, there was no one single player more often paired with the Steelers in mock drafts than Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr., whom most acknowledge would have made a solid selection 17th overall.
He ended up slipping out of the first round entirely, most notably with the Washington Commanders taking Emmanuel Forbes at 16 and the New York Giants selecting Deonte Banks at 24. That made Porter only the fifth cornerback to come off the board, when he was frequently considered the third best in the class behind Devon Witherspoon and Christian Gonzalez.
None of that matters now. He’s in Pittsburgh, and I’m sure most people reading this knows what that entails. It’s where his father played for most of his career, where he would go on to coach for half a decade, where the rookie himself got to know the man who is now his head coach.
Much will be expected of him, but his selection was not one of charity or sentiment by any means. He is a very talented young player who should be an immediate contributor, if not a full-time starter, and should help make this defense better for a long time to come.
The Steelers felt like they got two first-round picks in 2014 when they had the opportunity to draft Stephon Tuitt, whose stock fell due to health concerns, in the second round. I would imagine they very much feel the same about landing Porter at 32—normally a first-round selection anyway—after drafting Broderick Jones at 14.
Thatr is exactly why they didn’t bite on those trade offers, which, based on what the teams behind them got to move down, were probably pretty solid offers. But you don’t trade away from talent like that. If he’s your guy, go get your guy. Don’t overthink it.
And the Steelers didn’t.