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Two Steelers Rookies Ready to Contribute on Defense



Steelers CB Joey Porter Jr.

PITTSBURGH –– The Steelers will see some of their defensive rookies play a lot and likely do it early. Keeanu Benton and Joey Porter Jr. missed some time in the preseason, including one game, but defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has no qualms about those players getting significant snaps already. They may not start, but to Austin, those players have played and shown enough to play right away.

“I don’t know if they’ve gotten enough reps, but they’ve gotten enough reps to where they’re ready to play and contribute, and we’ll see how it all plays out as the season goes on,” Austin said. “There’s always more reps we would’ve liked to give them, but with both of them missing a game they probably haven’t gotten what we’d like. But I think they’ve gotten enough to be out on the field and help us.”

Both players have shown out well in the preseason. Benton, in particular, looks unblockable in some of the snaps he has logged. That happens when the athleticism is high, and you come in with polished hand usage in the run game. Porter Jr. has length, a unique trait that will take him a long way to doing exactly what he wants to do as a player.

Austin praised Porter’s growth as a technical defensive back. The Steelers want to coach Porter’s grabbiness out of him. So far, they feel like they have, although he got caught with a holding penalty against the Falcons. But both rookies, drafted in the second round, seem poised to play often and early. With four picks in the Top 100, Pittsburgh should see a lot of contributions from the youth they have built into the team. Porter and Benton are no exceptions, and while they may not instantly start, both players will play a significant amount of snaps out of the gate.