One week after saying it would be “dope” to become a Pittsburgh Steeler and team up with veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson in the Black and Gold, Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. got his wish in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Despite a surprising fall out of the first round in Kansas City, Porter Jr. couldn’t have landed in a better spot, coming home to Pittsburgh, where his father, Joey Porter Sr., once played, while also getting the chance to learn and grow under the mentorship and guidance of Peterson, whom the Steelers signed in the offseason.
Peterson, who turns 33 in July, understands he’s on the downside of his career and is embracing the mentorship role. On the latest episode of the “All Things Covered” podcast with co-host and cousin Bryant McFadden, a former Steeler himself, Peterson said he’s excited to “make some magic happen” with the rookie cornerback in the Steelers’ secondary moving forward.
“When he was falling, I was like, ‘Damn, this might come to fruition! He might end up being my teammate!’ Low and behold, the Steelers took him to open the second round, and now we’re going to be able to make some magic happen,” Peterson said on the All Things Covered podcast Monday morning, via the show’s YouTube page. “I’m excited. I had the opportunity to speak with him on our pod a couple days ago, and hearing his knowledge of the game and how good he wants to be, the legwork he’s putting into greatness…I sense that from him.
“I’m very excited to be his teammates, and like I said it’s going to be crazy playing with him. And know I can say I know what it’s like to be LeBron, playing with the son of a former teammate.”
Of course, Peterson played with Joey Sr. for a few years in Arizona at the end of the latter’s career. The excitement of getting to play with Porter Jr. and mentor him was palpable from Peterson on the podcast. That feeling is mutual, with Porter Jr. stating after being selected by the Steelers that Peterson is going to “have him calling every day.”
For Peterson, that opportunity is an exciting one. He’s already figured out what he’s going to first try to teach Porter Jr.
“Take care of your body. Your body is something that can be your success or your failure,” Peterson stated. “…Make sure you hit the cold tub, make sure you hit the sauna…your body is your temple.”
Porter Jr. is a good a prospect and there is a reason he was projected to go early in the NFL Draft. That said, there are some areas for Porter Jr. to improve in as there are with all rookies. Fortunately for Porter Jr., he gets to be in the same meetings as one of the smartest and most experienced cornerbacks in the NFL like Peterson. This may help lessen some of the learning curve from college to the NFL as Peterson will be teaching him constantly, a win-win for the Steelers ahead of the 2023 season.
Peterson isn’t in the Steelers’ long-term plans at cornerback but Porter Jr. is. It is vital that he pans out and becomes a shut-down cornerback since the Steelers play in a conference loaded with quarterback and wide receiver talent. That’s where Peterson’s mentorship will come into play.