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‘It’s Really Nothing To Do With His Parents’: Omar Khan Lauds Joey Porter Jr.’s Skills In Discussing His Football Evaluation

The Pittsburgh Steelers used the 32nd-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to select the son of one of their former Pro Bowl players. That’s the story that everybody tends to run with when discussing Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. The story they should be focusing on is their taking with the 32nd-overall pick a potential franchise cornerback, something they haven’t managed to do via the draft in decades.

From the character part of it, I would say it was obviously a benefit”, Steelers general manager Omar Khan acknowledged while speaking with Mike Florio recently for Pro Football Talk. “We knew Joey [Sr.] and Christy, his mom and dad, very well. They’re great people. We’ve known Joey Jr. since he was really young”.

but he also acknowledges that he didn’t pick up much about Porter’s footwork while he was running around the Steelers facility as a child, horsing around with the children of other players around the same time, running amok. That scouting came much later.

“From the football standpoint, it’s a credit to Joey. It’s a reflection of his success at Penn State and his abilities”, Khan said. “It’s really nothing to do with his parents. It’s really him and how he’s grown and become a solid football player. That’s a direct reflection of him”.

A direct reflection of him, of course, as well as the genes he was provided by his parents. Joey Sr. was a 6’3”, 248-pound outside linebacker who recorded 98 sacks, forced 25 fumbles, recorded 12 interceptions, made four Pro Bowls and All-Pro lists, and won a Super Bowl. That’s always a good place to start. And his and Christy’s parenting, and Joey Jr.’s opportunity to grow up understanding what being a professional football player—indeed what being a Steeler—meant, they’re all very nice supplements and critical components of the overall evaluation.

But it’s ultimately what he did with it all while he was playing inside of Beaver Stadium with the Nittany Lions that got him drafted at 32. You don’t have that and you don’t have a football player. He earned that on his own, this is no legacy pickup. If the Steelers didn’t draft him at 32, perhaps somebody else would have if they traded down. Or if not at 32, he would have been gone at 33, 34, or very soon after. Almost nobody thought he would even have been available at 32.

There are certain obvious tangible and intangible benefits to following in your father’s footsteps into a profession. You are gifted an invaluable amount of insight and wisdom about what awaits you. You know what to expect. You know what it’s like. In this case, you even know your boss. You dined at his house. You’re good friends with his son.

All of those are good things. Very good things, in fact. But none of them would have been worth a damn if he wasn’t a baller in the first place, and as Khan said, that’s really nothing to do with mom and dad.

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