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Joey Porter Jr. Blowing Minds in Strong Rookie Season



Steelers CB Joey Porter Jr.
Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr. against the New England Patriots, Dec. 7, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Joey Porter Jr. is having a promising rookie season. No, he is not perfect. For one, Porter has a severe issue with holding penalties. But for a rookie who is playing like an eraser otherwise, that is something you can live with at this juncture. Porter’s length and an improving technical skill set have allowed him to become one of the NFL’s best rookie cornerbacks.

Pro Football Focus is on the hype train for Porter. No one has a better successful coverage over expected (SCOE) rate than the rookie this season. That lands him as the 7th best cornerback in football so far this season, according to PFF, making Porter the highest-rated rookie cornerback on the list.

Steelers CB Joey Porter Jr.

Steelers CB Joey Porter Jr. against the Cleveland Browns, Nov. 19, 2023 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

“The first-round rookie consistently prevents separation and has allowed just a 38.5% completion rate on throws into his coverage. In Week 13, Porter allowed just one catch for 15 yards on three targets, and he now has a 20.5% forced incompletion rate on the year,” PFF wrote.

It’s easy to spout stats and praise Joey Porter Jr., but what makes it more impressive are the players he has erased for the season. Ja’Marr Chase, Calvin Ridley, DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, and others have entered the vortex and have not come out of it with successful games. Amari Cooper is the one player who gave Porter fits with his route-running ability, but since then, Porter has adjusted to similar styles of players to help take the obvious away.

Porter has raw traits. That grabby technique is due to spotty hand technique in press coverage, and his footwork is still sloppy. His tackling is still up and down as Porter ducks his head and loses sight of the ball carrier. Keep all of that in mind, and remember that Porter is still playing at this high level. The future is bright for Porter in Pittsburgh. He looks like a guy who could become an absolute force if he can grow into a more technically proficient player on top of his impressive tape.