It felt like Joey Porter Jr. was meant to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. He’s the son of Joey Porter Sr., a Steelers legend, and approaching the 2023 NFL Draft he was mocked to go right around pick 17, which is where the Steelers pick was. But the Steelers didn’t take Porter. Instead, they traded up for Broderick Jones. It felt like the dream of Porter Jr. following his father’s footsteps was dead. But then it wasn’t. Porter surprisingly fell into the second round where the Steelers quickly snapped him up.
Porter’s fall was a surprise to almost everyone, including esteemed NFL analyst Bucky Brooks. In fact, Porter’s fall surprised Brooks so much that he named the Steelers pick of Porter at 32 as one of his biggest surprises in a recent NFL.com article.
“Nobody’s surprised Porter ended up in Pittsburgh, where his dad once earned first-team All-Pro honors, but the pairing was supposed to happen in Round 1,” wrote Brooks. “Instead, four other cornerbacks (Devon Witherspoon, Emmanuel Forbes, Christian Gonzalez and Deonte Banks) came off the board on Thursday night, and the pedigreed Penn Stater surprisingly slid into Friday, with the Steelers holding the opening pick of Day 2.”
Porter had a successful collegiate career at Penn State where he was a standout cornerback. While he struggled with interceptions in his four years at State College with only one, he was a lockdown cornerback. Porter broke 17 passes over his collegiate career, including eight pass breakups in 2022 alone. His size and length makes him a matchup nightmare as he can man-up against almost any wide receiver on the outside.
By being able to draft Porter in Round Two, the Steelers were able to get a first-round talent on the second day. Porter could be the answer Pittsburgh has been searching for at cornerback since the days of Ike Taylor. Porter also has the luxury of being able to be mentored by Patrick Peterson who was one of the best cornerbacks in the 2010s.
The Steelers got lucky that Porter fell to them at 32, and just like Bucky Brooks, we were all surprised he was even available there.