To say the least, Joey Porter Jr. not being selected in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft was massively unexpected. Many considered Porter to be CB2 at best in this year’s draft, behind just Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez. Porter himself even thought he would have got drafted anywhere from seventh to 20th overall.
The Washington Commanders were heavily linked to Porter in the pre-draft process, but they elected to go with Mississippi State cornerback Emmanuel Forbes at 16th overall. The New England Patriots then grabbed Gonzalez at 17th overall and the New York Giants picked Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks No. 24. That left Porter waiting anxiously in the green room in Kansas City, where his name got uncalled as the night concluded.
Fortunately for Porter, he didn’t have to wait long on Day 2 of the draft, as the Pittsburgh Steelers selected him at 32nd overall, reuniting Porter with the franchise that his dad Joey Porter Sr. starred for in the 2000s as a fierce outside linebacker and emotional leader.
While it was head-scratching that Porter didn’t get selected in the first round, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back and current scout for the team, Merril Hoge, confirmed that the Steelers had a first-round grade on him.
“He was a first-round grade,” Hoge said on the Not Just Football with Cam Heyward podcast. “People (within the Steelers organization) had a first-round grade on him.”
Hodge continued by explaining how fortunate the Steelers were to land Porter at 32nd overall due to the value.
“There was three corners that had first-round grades. Those other guys went before Joey, but he was in our top, first-round echelon,” Hodge said. “In a way, we were really fortunate, if you think of the value.
“If you’ve got him ranked in the first round and you get him in the second, that’s fortunate. He does a lot of things that you have to do in our league. He can get better at man just (with) how he uses his hands. So many defensive backs are good with their feet, which he is, and they fail to use their second-best weapon, their hands. He has a chance to really blossom with development.”
With being snubbed in the first round, Porter is carrying a chip on his shoulder as he enters the league. He feels like he’s CB1 in this year’s draft.
“That chip on my shoulder is going to last,” Porter said, “and I’m going to prove myself that I feel like I’m that guy. I feel like I was CB1 that year, and we’re going to see this year when the season starts.”
Porter feels that he’s a perfect match for the Steelers’ defense and will bring swag and intensity to the unit, similar to how his dad once did it when he donned the Black and Gold.
“This is Steelers defense,” Porter said. “This is what we’re about. Hard football, we’re going to smack you in the mouth. We’re going to play aggressive, and I feel like that fits my game style. I’m going to get in your face, I’m going to talk a little trash, but we’re going to play.”