Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. is expected to be drafted on Thursday, April 27, the first day of the 2023 NFL Draft. That would be two rounds earlier than his father, Joey Porter Sr., who was taken in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Will the same team draft both father and son? It’s certainly a possibility, as the Steelers need a starting cornerback and Porter is expected to be drafted in the middle of the first round somewhere, in the area of Pittsburgh’s selection.
He grew up in that locker room while his father played for the Steelers. He was back as a teen when dad was on the coaching staff. He himself recalled lining up one on one against All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown in practice, a story another receiver, Hines Ward, retold.
Currently the head coach of the XFL’s Brahmas, Ward spent his entire career with the Steelers and was there for every single season of Porter’s Pittsburgh career. Now Porter is on his coaching staff. Ward, who also spent some time as a coaching intern in Pittsburgh, recalled the Brown story.
“You could see the lightbulb go off in his head”, Chris Vannini of The Athletic quoted him as saying, via Twitter. “He doesn’t realize how talented he is”. At least, that’s his take on it, and the word on Porter is that, off the field, he’s a quiet person. On the field, however, he’s more like his father. And dad never lacked for confidence.
The Steelers are in need of a high-level starting cornerback and the younger Porter could be a fit there. But he’s not the only option, nor do they need to take a cornerback in the first round. It would be a good story, of course, but it’s impossible to know a week away if that would be the best move to make.
It should also be noted that Porter’s game is one that you might have to tailor yourself to more in order to get the most out of the player than you might have to with some of the other top-pedigreed cornerbacks in this class. But there’s no reason to think the Steelers wouldn’t be well aware of that and have a plan in place.
After losing Cameron Sutton in free agency, Pittsburgh signed aging veteran Patrick Peterson, a former All-Pro, to a two-year deal as something of a stopgap solution. The most likely starter opposite him right now is Levi Wallace, though minus a draft pick James Pierre and Ahkello Witherspoon would ostensibly challenge for the job.
None of these players are long-term answers, however. A player like Porter could be. I think we all know by now that this is a realistic possibility, Little Peezy coming to Pittsburgh. There would be worse things in the world if that were to happen. But the All-Pros won’t be going easy on him on Sundays like Brown did on the practice field.