Omar Khan: ‘Safe Assumption’ Steelers Traded Out Of No. 32 Pick If Joey Porter Jr. Wasn’t On Board

Holding the No. 32 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, which this year was the first pick of the second round, it was no secret the Pittsburgh Steelers would field trade offers and potentially look to move down. But with cornerback Joey Porter Jr. still on the board, a player the Steelers were rumored to have interest in during the first round, the Steelers held on to their pick at No. 32 and selected Porter. In an interview on the Poni and Mueller show on 93.7 The Fan, Steelers general manager Omar Khan said there’s a “high likelihood” the Steelers would have traded out of the pick had Porter Jr. not been on the board.

“I would say that’s a safe assumption, for sure. We had some really good offers at that time, and several clubs and we thought about them. For us, we just didn’t want to trade away from Joey. That’s what it came down to for us. But I think it’s really safe to assume that if Joey wasn’t there, there would’ve been a high likelihood of that happening,” Khan said.

The Steelers had a first-round grade on Porter, and given his connections to Mike Tomlin and his father’s connections to the team as a Pittsburgh legend during his playing days, it’s not all that shocking the Steelers were so high on the Penn State cornerback. Even though the team could’ve gotten a really solid return in a trade package for a team looking to move up for a quarterback like Will Levis, they ultimately decided that holding on and bolstering their cornerback room with a player of Porter’s caliber was worth it.

Cornerback was one of Pittsburgh’s most pressing needs heading into the offseason, and losing Cameron Sutton from the room didn’t help matters. While the team replaced him with veteran Patrick Peterson, they still needed help, and adding a lengthy, athletic corner in Porter adds physicality and length to the outside corner position along with Peterson and Levi Wallace.

Peterson could potentially also move and play some slot corner, as the Steelers are thin inside. If that’s the case, Porter could see a lot of playing time as a starter on the outside. His length can disrupt a lot of guys at the line of scrimmage and take away the speed element of the game, which is especially important in the AFC North going up against receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and JaMarr Chase.

Adding a player like Porter was worth it to the current iteration of the Steelers roster instead of adding more draft capital. The Steelers were still able to have an incredibly productive draft, and bringing in a corner like Porter who would’ve gone in the first round a lot of years was a good move by Pittsburgh.

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