Grading each pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 draft class

Steelers, Darnell Washington
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Round 2 – Pick 32 (from Chicago) – Joey Porter, Jr., CB, Penn State

Grade: A+

Despite all of the media talk about the draft slide of former Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, the fall out of the first round by Joey Porter, Jr. was equally surprising.

Porter was rated 14th overall on the Consensus Big Board compiled by and had a 90.6-percent chance of being selected in the first round. But the son of Steelers legend Joey Porter was forced to watch four other cornerbacks (Devon Witherspoon, Emmanuel Forbes, Christian Gonzalez, and Deonte Banks) go before him.

As a result, the Steelers were happy to snatch JPJ up with the first selection of the second round (thanks Chicago!). They had to believe Porter wouldn’t be there at pick 32 after passing him up for Broderick Jones in round one.

If Porter had been selected in the first round, it’s likely that the Steelers would have traded back with this pick to gain extra draft capital. But the chance to get a talent like JPJ, at a position of need, and the fact that he’s basically family made this selection an easy one in the end.

Porter has just about everything you want in a cornerback. He’s got great size (6-3, 193), long arms (34 inches, tied with Julius Brents for longest at his position in the class), and of course, the pedigree. In addition, the press corner was highly productive as a senior at Penn State, not allowing a touchdown reception and forcing quarterbacks into a 63.6 rating when targeted. 

For his efforts, JPJ was named first-team All-Big Ten by the Associated Press and was a second-team All-America choice by several national outlets in 2022. The Nittany Lions’ Defensive MVP was also a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe (top defensive back in college football) and Chuck Bednarik (top defensive player in college football) awards.

JPJ will immediately strengthen the Steelers’ secondary, and he will challenge for a starting role as a rookie. He will battle outside corners Ahkello Witherspoon and Levi Wallace for time opposite Patrick Peterson.