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2023 NFL Draft

Steelers Draft Grades: Joey Porter Jr. Gets His Homecoming



Mel Blount Steelers Draft Joey Porter Jr.

PITTSBURGH — Joey Porter Jr. has his homecoming officially and the Steelers draft team now has the cornerback that they needed heading into the class, but just how will this pick actually grade out?

Well, I don’t mean to spoil the premise of the article, but it will grade out pretty well. Let’s just say the basis of it from the jump — Porter is a first-round talent and my CB3. He would have been a perfectly fine pick at No. 17, but at the 32nd overall, the value is insane. This is a home run pick from that perspective when he should have gone far earlier than he actually did.

Then, let’s talk about the actual skillset fit. Pittsburgh has rarely had a press cornerback with this type of length. In fact, the NFL just does not see guys this long. His dad is a linebacker, and Porter has the frame of a linebacker. That makes him wholly unique as a player and his recovery ability is thus greater than most with his length.

He is not without questions. Porter, in a Steelers draft sense, is a bit of a unicorn. His ball production isn’t there, often through dropping the interceptions himself, and he is grabby and overaggressive. There is an obvious sense of bust potential here because he is a bit stiff in the hips. But he makes up for it at the line of scrimmage and with far better than often long speed than most give him credit for at this stage.

However, those are just concerns to me when you are not a natural blue-chip prospect. Porter has unique qualities that make him a great pick here. It’s the value, the need, and the natural fit for a football guy that has all the makings of someone with plenty of upside. The Steelers are one of the few teams that truly fit in with bump-and-run cornerbacks at this stage. Porter has great eyes and is good in zone coverage, too.

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. The lore makes it seem mystical, but the actual tape is good. His physicality and length fit right in with someone like Jimmy Smith of the Baltimore Ravens. With Patrick Peterson helping him as a mentor, this pick is about as good as it gets.

Grade: A

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