Teryl Austin Believes Patrick Peterson-Joey Porter Jr. Partnership ‘Is Going To Be Good’

When the Steelers signed cornerback Patrick Peterson this offseason, the idea was that the 32-year-old former All-Pro could mentor whatever young cornerback the Steelers brought in during the 2023 NFL Draft. With the team selecting cornerback Joey Porter Jr. at No. 32 overall, he’s going to be the guy that Peterson focuses his mentorship on. During a press conference Friday night after the selection, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin discussed the expected dynamic between Peterson and Porter Jr.

“The young guy keeps the older guy loose, and the older guy gives his knowledge to the young guy, and if the young guy is willing to take it, there’s a great dynamic there,” Austin said via the team’s YouTube channel. “I think we can get that same kind of dynamic because everyone knows what kind of the guy Pat P is and Joey is a great young man, and I think those guys working together with the other guys in our room and Grady [Brown] and everybody is going to be good. He’s going to be in an environment that gives him an opportunity to succeed.”

Austin, who previously served as the defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions, compared it to when the team had Darius Slay entering his second NFL season and veteran corner Rashean Mathis. He called that dynamic “outstanding” and he believes that Porter Jr. and Peterson can have the same dynamic.

Obviously, if Porter becomes a Slay-esque cornerback, then the selection was a massive win for the Steelers. Even if he isn’t, getting Porter, who some thought would be gone by the time the Steelers picked at No. 17 in the first round (the team ended up trading up to No. 14), at No. 32 is tremendous value. It’s a big win for Omar Khan, who essentially flipped wide receiver Chase Claypool for Porter Jr., as the pick the team acquired in the Claypool trade was used on Porter Jr.

With Porter Jr.’s dad being a legend in Pittsburgh, there are going to be some unfair expectations on his son to live up to his name early in his career. Even if he doesn’t quite live up to them immediately, Porter Jr. is a freak athlete with 34” arms who should thrive in a defensive-minded unit like the Steelers have. With Secondary Coach Grady Brown gaining experience by working as the Senior Bowl Defensive Coordinator after leading a unit that led the NFL in interceptions in 2022, Austin having a ton of NFL experience and Mike Tomlin coming up in the NFL as a defensive backs coach, there is going to be no shortage of voices to help Porter Jr. improve.

The Steelers’ history of drafting cornerbacks has been spotty. But with the mentorship of Peterson, the defensive leaders in the room and Porter Jr.’s natural talent, my bet is he’ll buck the trend and develop into a really solid player for Pittsburgh.

To Top