Steelers general manager Omar Khan revealed on Thursday that had Joey Porter Jr. not been there at No. 32 overall, that the Steelers likely would have traded out of the pick with multiple teams calling them.
While there was plenty of talk about Pittsburgh moving out of No. 32, they never ended up doing that. The reason, according to general manager Omar Khan was because Porter remained on the board. However, if they had not had a player like him that they loved, it was a likely proposition that the team would have moved back.
“I would say that’s a safe assumption, for sure,” Khan said on 93.7 the Fan. “We had some really good offers at that time and from several clubs, but for us, we just didn’t want to trade away from Joey. That’s what it came down to for us. It’s safe to assume that if Joey wasn’t there, that there was a high likelihood of that happening.”
That is not surprising as the team has espoused positive energy around Joey Porter Jr. since drafting him. They needed a cornerback and he was undoubtedly the best player on the board at that spot. Porter Jr. has NFL bloodlines and already understands what it takes to be a good player at this level. There are some hip stiffness and ball production concerns, but Porter rated out as the best cornerback and perhaps the player still on the board.
In addition to this, Porter Jr. gets to learn from a grizzly veteran, Patrick Peterson. Khan and the Steelers view Peterson’s potential influence on the team this season as one of immense influence as a leader. With Porter Jr. and fellow rookie Cory Trice on the roster, there could be beneficial mentorships that form.
“The thing you love about Pat Pete is his leadership, too. He’s gonna be great with two young corners in Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice. He’s gonna be great for those guys,” Khan said.
Pittsburgh did end up trading out of No. 80 to recoup the fourth-round pick they traded away to move up and get Broderick Jones. However, now they have a young cornerback that could be a future cornerstone on the outside for the team moving forward.