Landing with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2023 NFL Draft was quite the chapter in the storybook that is Joey Porter Jr.’s football life.
It also might be the best possible spot for him to have landed in the NFL, too.
According to NFL Network’s Marc Ross, Porter was one of 10 rookies that landed in the “best situation” to succeed in Year 1 and beyond, coming in at No. 6 overall in the ranking.
“Porter lands with the team his father played — which is the feel-good story now, but the youngster has a chance to carve out a great career for himself in an ideal situation,” Ross writes, highlighting Porter was one of the top rookies in a good situation. “Porter has great size (6-foot-2 1/2, 193 pounds), speed and the skill set to thrive in press coverage, so learning alongside veteran Patrick Peterson, who boasts a similar skill set, should suit him well. Plus, the pressure Pittsburgh gets with its pass rush will play to Porter’s strengths.”
A strong, press-man cornerback who thrives with physicality within the routes, Porter landed in a good situation overall that will play to his strengths. The Steelers were looking for a cornerback with press-man abilities that can thrive on an island, much like cornerback Cameron Sutton did in the Steel City before departing for the Detroit Lions in free agency.
After losing Sutton in free agency, the Steelers pivoted quickly and signed veteran Patrick Peterson to help shore up the secondary a bit. Peterson was great in a zone-heavy scheme in Minnesota last season, so it will be interesting to see how he performs in Pittsburgh’s man-heavy scheme. However, he is also going to take on the mentorship role in Pittsburgh and will do so for a rather young cornerback room.
Porter and fellow draft pick Cory Trice Jr. bring some youth and physicality to the room and will get a chance to learn under a future Hall of Famer in Peterson. Having that sounding board, not to mention veteran defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, budding star defensive backs coach Grady Brown and — of course — head coach Mike Tomlin gives Porter a stable situation to land in.
Off the field, Porter won’t have the stresses of learning a new environment and adapting to a new city, either. He’s returning home to Pittsburgh where he grew up watching his father play and later coach, and where he attended high school before heading to Penn State. That familiar environment will help him play fast and free in Pittsburgh as he learns the Steelers’ defensive playbook in Year 1.