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Joey Porter Jr. Could Take Next Step Into Superstardom

The Pittsburgh Steelers might have a future superstar at cornerback in the young Joey Porter Jr. What can he do in his second season?



Steelers CB Joey Porter Jr. Super Bowl Odds
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr. in a game against the Baltimore Ravens on Jan. 6, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Joey Porter Jr. never started a game for the Steelers until about halfway into his rookie season. His first actual assignment once he started? DeAndre Hopkins might not be the particular player he was in Houston, but he is still an excellent player. That kicked off a row of players who learned that Porter was one of the fastest ascending young cornerbacks in the NFL.

Porter had struggled at times against players like DK Metcalf and Amari Cooper. But he competed against those players, including those such as Ja’Marr Chase, Calvin Ridley, Puka Nacua, Tee Higgins, and other top receivers, and Porter ended up shutting them down. The rookie mistakes remained, but Porter’s length and physical skills were noticeable.

So, who could be the next defensive star the Steelers create? Joey Porter Jr. would be the obvious answer when he stepped up and shut down many of the league’s top wide receivers in his first season already. The 33rd Football Team sees Porter as a future star.

“The Pittsburgh Steelers slow-played their second-round pick in 2023. Joey Porter Jr. played seven snaps in Week 1. He didn’t play more than 25 defensive snaps until Week 7,” Dan Pizzuta wrote. “Once he got on the field in a full-time capacity, he was an instant game-changer. While he only made one interception, he had 10 pass breakups and allowed 46.4 percent of targets against him to be completed, the third-lowest rate in the league.”

Porter has unique traits that most players at the position lack. From his length to some surprising fluidity to flip his hips, Porter can get after it. He is physical in press coverage, and while tackling was inconsistent at times and route running technicians such as Cooper gave him some trouble with various release packages, Porter has all the special tools to become one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks.

In a volatile position, cornerback is largely important but can vary from year to year. Can Porter step up to the plate and take another leap into the echelon of superstar cornerbacks? If he cleans up some of the issues from a season ago, there is zero reason that Porter should not become the next star of the Steelers defense.