Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. was a player that was connected to the Pittsburgh Steelers frequently in the pre-draft process, with many linking the Steelers to the son of their legendary linebacker with the 16th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Steelers ended up getting Porter later, after trading up to take Georgia tackle Broderick Jones with the 14th overall pick in the first round. Porter slid down the board, and was still available to the Steelers with pick No. 32 in the second round.
In the end, the Steelers got two players that many considered possibilities for the team in the first round. Thursday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed that’s what he was thinking, too.
Tomlin was asked in an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show on Thursday about the prospect of trading that pick, something Tomlin and general manager Omar Khan had openly discussed before the draft.
“We were open to doing business, particularly if someone was interested in doing some drafting business,” Tomlin said. “If someone really wanted that pick. We just didn’t get enough action to stimulate us.”
Part of the reason the Steelers held fast was that they had a much higher grade on Porter internally.
“There was a guy there that we were very familiar with that we thought was definitely worthy of that pick,” Tomlin said. “We probably would have been comfortable with him much earlier than that. It was a position of need for us. And so, it was going to take a significant maneuver by someone to get us off the spot, but we were open. It’s just prudent business to be open.”
The move combined good value for the pick, a player the Steelers liked, and a player they’re extremely familiar with in Porter. That makes it a win-win, Tomlin said.
“It’s really cool,” he said. “My son and Joey Jr. are really good friends. They have been since middle school age. So he’s been over my house quite a bit over the years. It’s just a really interesting and cool thing to be able to do business with someone that you’ve got a personal relationship. You know their background. You’ve known them since they were a kid. And you’re not compromising any of the things that you value in terms of the business component of it. … It’s just really cool, man. It’s something that we’re all excited to be a part of.”