Mike Tomlin explains why Steelers chose not to trade back from pick 32

Steelers, Joey Porter Jr.
Steelers, Joey Porter Jr. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If you were following the pre-draft process closely, then I'm sure you were not surprised when the Pittsburgh Steelers sat on the 32nd pick to select Penn State cornerback, Joey Porter Jr. With a full day to field offers before the start of Day 2, Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan weighed their options before making this selection.

Some fans were hopeful that Pittsburgh would be able to turn the 32nd overall pick into more draft capital by moving back. However, the Steelers also knew what they had sitting in front of them in Porter Jr., and they weren't going to let him slip through their fingers without a king's ransom in return.

Recently, Mike Tomlin was on Mad Dog Sports Radio to talk about the decision with the 32nd overall pick. The Pittsburgh Steelers head coach admitted that they were 'open to listening' to offers for the pick, but it would have taken 'some significant moves' to get them to trade back from that spot. Here's what Tomlin had to say:

""One of the more difficult things was weighing our potential options going into Day 2 [of the NFL Draft]. We were holding the golden ticket the first pick of the second day, and people had a desire to move, and we were open to listening. But obviously, it was going to take some significant moves by others to get us out of that spot. Knowing the confidence level we had in terms of [Joey Porter Jr.] and the things that you can't measure. We know where he comes from, we know his values, we know how he was raised, we know his relationship with football, and all of those things.""

Mike Tomlin, via Mad Dog Sports Radio

Tomlin went on to say that Porter Jr. also filled a very specific need by adding a long boundary cornerback to their defense.

This was the first time that Pittsburgh had ever held the top pick in the second round. Some fans who weren't as high on Porter Jr. believe that the team should have traded back. Though we probably won't know how Porter will turn out until a few years from, it's hard to argue with Pittsburgh's thought process at pick 32 and the decision they ultimately made.

Steelers made the right decision with Joey Porter Jr. at pick 32

Rarely does it work out that a huge position of need aligns with the best player available, but the stars aligned for Pittsburgh with the 32nd pick. Obviously, landing a massive haul for that selection would have been nice, but reports suggest that the Steelers would receive just an early Day 3 pick to move back.

This wasn't worth risking missing out on Joey Porter Jr., and I get it. Porter was the 15th overall player on my 2023 draft board after a heavy evaluation during the pre-draft process. On the consensus board comprised of the rankings of top experts Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay, Daniel Jeremiah, Danny Kelly, and PFF, Porter ranked 17th overall.

While there are plenty of fans who wouldn't have loved this selection in the middle of the first round, it's hard not to be a fan of Porter at pick 32 when the consensus believed he was by far the best player available at that point.

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Joey Porter Jr. has exceptional size, length, physicality, and instincts that could turn him into a very good cornerback for a long time in the NFL. The Pittsburgh Steelers did the right thing by taking the best-remaining talent at pick 32, and it could prove to pay dividends.