Joey Porter Jr.’s bloodlines and familiarity might help make him a Pittsburgh Steeler. But if the team turns in the draft card with his name on it, all that feel-good stuff will quickly go away. Because there’s work to do.
Porter joined Bryant McFadden and Patrick Peterson on the latest episode of their All Things Covered podcast to detail the conversation Porter and Mike Tomlin had during his pre-draft visit with the team earlier this month. A unique conversation considering the history the two have, Tomlin knowing Porter basically his whole life.
“It was something different,” Porter told McFadden and Peterson. “Because at the end of the day, I already have that great relationship with him for years. But it’s business so we gotta treat it like business. That was the main thing we talked about. Yeah, we have a history but if he gets you, there’s not going to be any of that family talk. It’s going to be business when I come in the door.”
Porter is the son of former Steelers OLB and coach Joey Porter, who had a close relationship with Tomlin as their sons grew up playing high school football in the area. Now, Porter is a likely first-round pick at a position of need for Pittsburgh, one the team has spent plenty of time looking at over the past several months.
Porter profiles as a long press-man corner who can tackle and reads the game well, jumping routes and disrupting throws underneath. The biggest knock on him is a lack of splash plays with just one career interception. Even his 11 pass deflections last season were concentrated to just one game – six breakups against Purdue – and perhaps he lacks the big-play ability Pittsburgh wants.
Still, Porter is humble and mature and knows his role if the Steelers make him the pick.
“I told [Tomlin] I’m ready for it and I understand,” he said on the podcast.
The Steelers love their bloodlines and have spent several first-round picks on players whose dads who played in the league. Cam Heyward, Terrell Edmunds, and Devin Bush all had dads who were successful NFL players while T.J. Watt had older brother J.J. and some of the best football DNA in the league today. Of the Steelers’ most likely first-round picks, Porter is the only one with a dad who saw serious time in the league.
Still, there’s no guarantee Porter will be the pick. In fact, he might not even be the team’s #1 choice at corner, the Steelers also showing plenty of interest in Maryland’s Deonte Banks. There’s also offensive tackle to consider, Georgia’s Broderick Jones and Tennessee’s Darnell Wright the top two names to think about, and a deep corner class that’ll offer plenty of Day Two options may compel Pittsburgh to pass on Porter and the position in Round One.
Check out the full conversation below.