Vince Williams Believes ‘You Have To Mold Steelers’, And Joey Porter Jr. Already Has It ‘In His DNA’

The Pittsburgh Steelers had the chance to draft the son of Joey Porter in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, a cornerback out of Penn State who was nearly universally regarded as a first-round player, and who fueled much conversation during the pre-draft process about whether he would fall to Pittsburgh or be drafted earlier.

They ended up getting him about twice as late as it was thought they would need to get him, drafting him at the top of the second round at 32 overall. But as head coach Mike Tomlin says, it doesn’t matter how you got here. What matters is what you do while you’re here.

And while the Steelers’ decision to draft Joey Porter Jr. was made principally on the grounds of their belief that he is capable of being a quality long-term starting cornerback who fits their coverage system, alumni will tell you it’s deeper than that.

What I always try to tell people is you have to mold Steelers”, former linebacker Vince Williams said while he appeared on Cameron Heyward’s Not Just Football podcast during the draft last week.

“Steelers are made. You try to find guys that can fit in. And he’s already like that”, he added. “It’s already in his DNA. He’s gonna come in, he’s gonna be right-minded. He already knows and understands what we’re looking for. He’s gonna be able to contribute right away”.

The Steelers know firsthand because they were around Porter. His dad came back to Pittsburgh in the mid-2000s to coach for five years, and his son played locally. You’ve heard the stories by now about him lining up against Antonio Brown and all that.

Williams and Heyward watched him as a teenager. Porter was in that locker room as a five-year-old with his dad, blowing bubbles on Casey Hampton’s belly. Omar Khan had to tell people to settle little Joey down while he was running around the team facility as a kid.

He grew up in the Steelers Way. He trained with Steelers while he was a teenager. There is no guesswork in his evaluation when it comes to how he fits in with Pittsburgh, with the locker room, with what they expect out of their players.

Not that this is what led them to draft him at 32. They would have done so anyway even if Joey Porter Sr. spent his entire career playing for the Miami Dolphins instead of the Steelers. His college tape at Penn State is what made him an early draft pick. If the Steelers didn’t take him at 32, he would have been gone at 33, or 34, or 35.

But it certainly works to your advantage when you’ve known your new draft pick since he was a little kid, and he’s known what your organization is all about since then and got to see it firsthand. He won’t have to be molded, as Williams said. He was born into the mold.

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