‘People Were Scared To Throw My Way:’ Joey Porter Jr. Explains Lack Of College INTs

Pittsburgh Steelers second-round pick, cornerback Joey Porter Jr., was one of the more highly rated prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft and even invited to attend the draft. However, one of the few knocks against him was his lack of ball production with only one interception throughout his collegiate career. Pittsburgh still thought highly enough of him to draft him at pick No. 32, and Porter himself isn’t too concerned about the lack of ball production.

Yesterday, Porter joined Mark Madden on 105.9 The X and said he believes his low ball production was tied to volume — or lack thereof.

“I didn’t get that many targets a throughout my years at Penn State, and I didn’t really take nothing to it,” Porter told Madden. “I thought it was more of a respect thing ’cause people were scared to throw my way. So, I kind of carried that on my shoulders like ‘I’m an island over here and I don’t get thrown over here for a reason.'”

While it is hard to argue that having only one interception throughout four years of college is solely due to lack of opporunities, it is true that Porter was not targeted much. In his final season in State College, Porter was only targeted 30 times, according to PFF. In comparison the first two cornerbacks off the board, Devon Witherspoon and Christian Gonzalez saw 62 and 64 targets, respectively.

Porter is a really good cover corner who is physical and simply does not let receivers get open. When a cornerback limits the amount of targets a receiver sees, the better a defense will be because he can shut down a whole side of the field. If the Steelers can manage to improve Porter’s ball skills to become a defender who can not only shut a side of the field down but also take the ball away, they will have an All-Pro on their hands.

Even if Porter does not develop top-level ball skills, Pittsburgh will still be happy if his ability to shut receivers down translates to the NFL. Ike Taylor shut down teams’ number one wide receivers for over a decade despite having some of the worst hands I’ve ever seen. If Porter can become like Ike Taylor, the Steelers will be overjoyed.

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