2023 Offseason Questions: Why Did Joey Porter Jr. Fall Out Of First Round?

The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.

On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.

Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? How might they tackle the NFL Draft? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.

Question: Why did cornerback Joey Porter Jr. fall out of the first round?

The Steelers got a player in Joey Porter Jr. who almost unanimously seemed to have a first-round grade on him, and they got him with the first pick in the second round. Now, granted, in most years the 32nd-overall pick is in the first round. But many expected Porter to be drafted no later than the mid-20s. So what happened?

Well, nothing necessarily “happened”. It just so happened that the draft fell in a certain way that resulted in 31 other players being drafted before he was drafted. These things happen every year because nobody knows what each and every one of the 32 teams’ plans are, including those teams themselves, who are guessing what other teams might be doing.

Now, the Steelers came out and said that they had Porter with a first-round grade on him. I’m sure they’re not the only team who felt he had a first-round grade on him. It’s just that they had the opportunity to draft another first round-graded player, either who they graded higher or who was at a greater position of need.

We don’t know definitively if Pittsburgh would have drafted Porter in the first round had they missed out on tackle Broderick Jones, but I think the odds are pretty good that they would have, even if they might have traded back and still got him.

When all was said and done, Porter was the fifth cornerback off the board, with the only real “surprise” being the Washington Commanders’ 16th-overall selection of Emmanuel Forbes. Devon Witherspoon went off the board first, as expected, and Christian Gonzalez went right after him. Deonte Banks was next, and many people did believe teams would have him and Porter rated very similarly, so it’s a matter of teams’ personal preferences and scheme fits.

It would be interesting if we had the opportunity to see every team’s board and where they ranked players. How many teams had Porter ranked as the fifth-best cornerback in this class or later? Another defensive back didn’t even go off the board until 44 after the Steelers took him at 32.

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