INDIANAPOLIS — Joey Porter Jr. grew up around the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, Mike Tomlin, and the entire Pittsburgh Steelers organization, but now as an NFL Draft prospect, a full-circle trip right back to where it all started might just be destiny.
A popular mock draft pick, Porter Jr. even gave a wink to a reporter who told him they would see him in a few months in Pittsburgh. He smiles more than his dad and sometimes gets called ‘little Peezy’. But the full circle journey would mean plenty for the Penn State product from North Allegheny in Pittsburgh’s northern suburbs.
“It would probably mean a lot for me and my family,” Porter Jr said. “I’ve been in the Pittsburgh area for a while now, so staying in the Pittsburgh area, home, it would mean a lot.”
Back in the day, Porter Jr. would run around with Tomlin’s sons, Mason and Dino, and get work in off to the side while his dad practiced. Meanwhile, Antonio Brown would run routes against the younger Porter to give him some pointers. All in all, it is the surprise of no one that Porter had a formal meeting with the Steelers. And moving forward, he knows the interest and noise are coming. But his dad wants him to be even better than the elder Porter was on the field.
“My dad’s been there before and he’s done it,” Porter Jr said. “I want to do the same thing and be better. That’s the main thing he’s also told me he wants me to be better than him. That’s what I’m going to strive to do, and that’s why I’m here.”
So, coming into the NFL Combine, he hopes to show his speed and pick the brain of anyone he can, just like he did back in the days when his dad was at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex every day. But overall, the relentlessness of Porter is something he hopes to show.
“You’re going to get a competitor who likes to compete with everything I do,” Porter Jr. said. “I get that I’m like my dad on the field and my mom off the field. I say that’s a good mix.”
Now, curving it back around, a potential homecoming could be on the horizon for Porter Jr. He wants to be the top cornerback off the board to wherever that may be at this point. But if Pittsburgh comes calling, he will not be on to complain at all. And as a physical press cornerback, Porter Jr. is ready to show who he is on the field.
“I’m a physical press corner that’s going to get in your face and do my job and do it well,” Porter Jr said. “I feel like I’m the best corner here. I’m just here to show my talents and prove why.”