Grading the Steelers 2023 class: Strong results across the board

Fans should be pleased with the one-year sample from Pittsburgh's 2023 rookie class.

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Broderick Jones
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Broderick Jones / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers grades for Joey Porter Jr.

Grade: A

It was a mild surprise when Joey Porter fell out of the first round of the draft. While there was speculation that the Steelers were going to take him with their initial pick in the first round, the team was smart enough to move up for a top tackle instead. Even without the Steelers taking him, many expected Porter to go somewhere on the first day of the draft.

The league's loss was the Steelers gain. Like Benton, the early results weren’t notable. Pittsburgh kept Porter in dime defense only, limiting his snaps (especially in some of the early blowout losses). Unlike Benton sitting behind a decent Adams though, Porter wasn’t seeing time over the likes of Levi Wallace and Patrick Peterson. Neither of their play was any good, so this was certainly frustrating.

Once he did see an increased role though, he took the bull by the horns. Porter had one of the best starts to a cornerback career you could want. He was essentially a shutdown cornerback, stopping whatever receiver he was lined up across from. He did so well that he eventually started to travel with the opposing team's top wideout.

The only thing keeping Porter from a perfect grade is his draft position. You’d expect an early second-round pick to play well early on. As well, Porter's play faded slightly down the stretch, as teams found some ways to beat him. He was also grabby, which led to some regular penalties. That all said, it is hard not to be excited but his future with this team.