Mel Kiper Jr. is back with his first 2023 NFL mock draft, and his first-round selection for the Pittsburgh Steelers shouldn’t surprise many fans.
Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers are a few weeks removed from the 2022 season, mock draft season is already in full swing. Numerous media outlets and scouting websites have already taken stabs at which players each team will take in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Now one of the biggest names in the business chimes in.
Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN recently released his first 2023 NFL mock draft. The long-time draft expert didn’t stray far from the script when it came to Pittsburgh’s selection. With the 17th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Kiper has the Steelers taking Penn State cornerback, Joey Porter Jr.
Has there ever been a more ‘Steelers pick’ than this? Mike Tomlin and the organization have made it very clear that they strongly value family bloodlines, and it would be no surprise to anybody if they expressed that once again by taking the son of former All-Pro outside linebacker, Joey Porter.
Joey Porter Jr. to Steelers is very realistic
In 2022, the Steelers selected Connor Heyward in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. Though they convinced us that this had nothing to do with him being Cameron Heyward’s little brother, we all know better than that. This was hardly a first. In years past, the team signed Derek Watt and Trey Edmunds in free agency to join their brothers.
Though Mike Tomlin was hired as Pittsburgh’s head coach the year that Joey Porter Sr. left for the Miami Dolphins, he certainly knows him well enough and values the athletic bloodlines. But there are plenty of other reasons to believe this could be the selection in round one for the Steelers.
This team has a handful of needs on both sides of the football, but cornerback is among the biggest. Teams need at least three good cornerbacks to compete with top offenses in today’s NFL, and the Steelers have just one legitimate option at the position in Cameron Sutton (who will be a free agent in 2023).
Though their track record is shaky when drafting cornebacks early, the Steelers haven’t had a shutdown boundary CB since Ike Taylor in his prime. Porter has quality athleticism and outstanding length that will make him a coveted option in the 2023 NFL Draft. He’s also projected to be selected right around where Pittsburgh will be picking in the first round this year.
Porter has just one career interception in four seasons at Penn State, but he recorded 11 passes defended during the 2022 season.
Many fans are probably leary about dipping back into the cornerback position again — especially if it means ignoring the trenches for what seems like the hundredth time in a row. However, Mel Kiper Jr. might be on to something here. The ‘Joey Porter to the Steelers’ talk will probably ensue up until the day of the draft.