Mike Tomlin likes to say a player needs no endorsement from him. But anytime Mel Blount is endorsing a player, it’s sure to turn heads. Blount joined 93.7 The Fan’s Cook & Joe Show Wednesday and praised the team’s selection of CB Joey Porter Jr., a player with a similar body type that Blount had.
“I can tell you this,” Blount quipped to hosts Ron Cook and Joe Starkey. “If he got any of his dad’s intensity and desire, he’s going to be ok.”
Pittsburgh has loved its bloodlines throughout the past several draft cycles. In addition to Porter, Cam Heyward, Terrell Edmunds, and Devin Bush all had fathers who played in the league. But none were quite as known by Steelers Nation like Porter Sr., one of his era’s great pass rushers and definitely one of its top trash talkers. Porter Jr. probably isn’t quite on that level in the latter category nor is he as big as his father but his long, 34-inch arms are rare for the position (as you can see in the above cover photo).
Blount admitted that when he saw the Steelers trade up from #17 to #14, he thought it was to go get Porter.
“When the Steelers traded up, the first that came to me was, they must have traded up to get Joey Porter. And then they took the kid from Georgia,” he said. “There was no question in my mind that with them having the first pick in the second round, I knew, I just felt, they were going to get him because he was still available. I think it’s a great pick. We obviously need help in the secondary. Hopefully he can come in and be a great player for us.”
A projected first-round pick, Porter fell out of Day One. Though Pittsburgh had plenty of offers to trade down, it held firm at #32 to take him. As DC Teryl Austin indicated, Porter should be an immediate contributor to a Steelers cornerback room that lacks high-end athleticism. The future of the position was also in question with Patrick Peterson being the only CB under contract past 2023 prior to the draft. Now, Porter will aim to become a fixture in the Steelers’ lineup for years to come.
Trying to proclaim Porter as the next Mel Blount would be a foolish thing to do. But what they do have in common is their size. Blount was a listed 6’3, 205 pounds with long arms and a physical nature and is famous for being the reason why the NFL instituted a five-yard chuck rule to disallow the contact Blount would make with receivers downfield. Porter weighed in at 6024, 193 pounds (potentially dropping weight for the Combine to run faster) with rare length and a physical, press-man nature not often seen at the college level.
Porter will be coming back to Pittsburgh stepping into big shadows. His father, of course, and there will be others that want to compare him to Blount. Porter’s goal will to be his own man and not live in those comparisons. Still, it’s great to hear an endorsement from a Steelers legend as Porter embarks on his own NFL career.