It was a little bit of a surprise when Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. slid out of the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Porter Jr. came off the board when the Pittsburgh Steelers used the No. 32 overall selection (the first pick of the second round) on the local product. Porter Jr. said in a press conference after being selected that he had a chip on his shoulder after not going Day 1, but he’s ready to “put on for Steeler Nation.”
“It was great. Last night, I was mad. I had the edge on me. This is a perfect way to end my day right here. I just forgot all about last night and shoot, I’m ready. I got a chip on my shoulder. I’m trying to prove myself. It adds a little more fuel to the fire, and that just gives me even greater reason to go out and put on for Steeler Nation and my pops and everything,” Porter Jr. said via 93.7 The Fan on Twitter.
Porter Jr. had a wide range where he could go. The night before the draft he told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that he believed that range was from the No. 7 overall pick to No. 17, which was the spot the Steelers originally held in the first round.
Instead, the Steelers opted to move up to No. 14 to select Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones, and cornerbacks went lower than expected on Day 1 as a result of a deep corner class. Porter Jr. was a victim of that, falling to Day 2 but ending up in a spot many predicted he might on Day 1 in Pittsburgh.
It’s a great fit for player and team. Obviously, Porter’s dad was a star for the Steelers and will go down as a legend in Pittsburgh. The family legacy coupled with Pittsburgh’s need for a cornerback and Porter’s freakishly athletic traits make him a perfect fit in the black and gold. Porter Jr.’s big knock is that he can too grabby in coverage, but he’s going to a team that has a whole lot of coaching experience in the secondary with Grady Brown, Teryl Austin and Mike Tomlin. Add in the mentorship of veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson, whom Porter Jr. said he’s excited to learn from, and he’ll have a lot of leadership to lean on and become a better player.
Porter Jr.’s potential makes him well-worth the pick at No. 32. He’s clearly out to prove that teams made a mistake by passing on him in the first round. By ending up in a spot where he’s most comfortable with Pittsburgh, he’ll have the best opportunity to blossom into a potential star as a pro. I’m excited to see what Porter Jr. can do in his Pittsburgh career.