Joey Porter Jr. has visited four NFL teams ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft. But for Porter, one trip was significantly different than the others.
Before meeting with the Commanders, Raiders and Ravens, Porter stopped by the Steelers‘ facility, a facility that he is quite familiar with. His dad, Joey Porter, was a standout outside linebacker for Pittsburgh before spending several seasons on Mike Tomlin’s coaching staff.
“Just really the history of my dad and everything he’s done for the sport and the Steelers,” Porter said when asked about his pre-draft visit with the Steelers during a recent appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show.” “That just comes to mind. They talked to me about that a little bit and what I can bring to the table. It was a great conversation.”
Porter enjoyed getting reacquainted with Tomlin, who he said he has met countless times over the years. Porter actually played high school football with Tomlin’s oldest son.
“It was great,” Porter said of his meeting with Tomlin. “I hadn’t seen him in a while, obviously because I’ve been at Penn State taking care of business, same as him. It was a good reunion to see him and some of the staff there. I’ve been going there since I was a kid. I saw a lot of old faces. I already know the facility. It was a great visit.”
The Steelers, who in free agency brought in eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson, are still looking to add more pieces to their secondary this offseason. Porter, when asked about the prospect of joining his dad’s former team during the NFL Combine, didn’t hide his excitement regarding a possible reunion.
“I think it would mean a lot to my family,” Porter said of the chance to play for the Steelers, via ESPN. “Been in the Pittsburgh area a while, staying home would mean a lot.”
Porter is ranked as the 16th-best player and third-ranked cornerback in CBS Sports’ prospect rankings. The Steelers own the 17th pick in the draft, but they could possibly move up in the first round if they are willing to part with one of their other high draft picks. The Steelers, who along with cornerback may also choose to address offensive tackle and interior defensive line in the first round, could make such a move as they have two other top 50 picks (No. 32 and 49 overall) in the draft.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Porter became one of college football’s top defensive backs during his time at Penn State. A four-star recruit coming out of Pittsburgh’s North Allegheny High School, Porter’s main attributes as a corner include his ideal length, elite ball skills and impressive size/speed combination. Question marks regarding Porter include his run-support ability and his diversity as far as his ability to fit into different schemes. Porter is largely looked at as a Cover 3 corner and not an off-man player.
While no player who gets drafted is a slam dunk, many expect Porter to be an immediate NFL starter. That would certainly be fine by the Steelers, who were 19th in the league in passing yards allowed in 2022.
Porter would be the first cornerback selected by the Steelers in the first round since Artie Burns back in 2016. While they have had considerable success drafting other positions, the Steelers have often missed the mark when selecting cornerbacks since 2000.
Notable exceptions include Ike Taylor (2003) and Bryant McFadden (2005), who both played key roles on Pittsburgh’s two most recent championship teams. Another exception is Cam Sutton (2017), who recently signed with the Lions in free agency.