With the Steelers’ 2023 offseason underway following a disappointing season that came up just short of reaching the playoffs, it’s time to begin reloading, through the free agency process, through the draft, and perhaps even through trade.
This is now a young team on the offensive side of the ball, though one getting older on defense. Both sides could stand to be supplemented robustly, including in the trenches—either one. Changes have been made to the coaching staff, even if not all of the desired ones, as the roster continues to renew with the weeks ticking by.
These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
Topic Statement: Deonte Banks would be a better draft pick for the Steelers at 17 than Joey Porter Jr.
Explanation: As much as name recognition is fun, and as legitimate as the younger Porter’s pedigree is, that doesn’t automatically guarantee that he would be the best fit for where his father played football. He has the bigger name, but some have suggested that the less recognized Deonte Banks from Maryland would better suit Pittsburgh.
While the Steelers have had plenty of brothers over the years, I don’t know that they have had many fathers and sons. Surely Joey Porter Jr. would mark the first time they drafted the son of one of their former players in the first round, at least.
And chances are he would be good. But Deonte Banks would be better, even if he hasn’t as often been recognized as such up to this point. Banks is the more fluid athlete with the more flexible skill set that better complements how the Steelers have historically asked their cornerbacks to play.
Neither are great ballhawks, surely—they had a combined three career college interceptions—but Banks has more to work with overall and is the more likely to be a long-term success.
Banks might be the better athlete and a better and more diverse coverage cornerback, but Porter is the more complete player—football player. He has some areas of his game to work on, for sure, but he is a football player first and foremost who is not going to be a liability in any one area of the game that a defense will have to work around.
Porter is more than athletic enough to be a very good starting cornerback in the league for a long time. He just needs some coaching and a staff that knows how best to employ him. Who better than the Steelers, who should know him better than anybody else? His hypothetical new head coach is friends with his son and had dinner at their house in high school.