Steelers pre-draft visit with Joey Porter Jr. puts him on the radar for pick 17
By Tommy Jaggi
If there was any question that Joey Porter Jr. wouldn't be considered a potential candidate for the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 17th overall pick, we need to put that to bed right away. When Penn State held their Pro Day on March 24th, some fans were concerned when Omar Khan and Mike Tomlin didn't show up, but there was a reason for this.
The annual NFL owners' meeting happened to coincide with Penn State's Pro Day -- hence the reason Tomlin and Khan were no-shows. The Steelers did have other representatives, however. Assistant GM Andy Weidl was there scoping out the talent with defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
On Thursday, we received further evidence that Pittsburgh has a strong interest in Porter Jr. Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Porter met with the Steelers for a pre-draft visit.
Because Porter is considered a local player, this does not count against one of the 30 total visits allowed by the Steelers during the pre-draft process. After meeting with Porter at the Combine and bringing him in for a pre-draft visit, the interest is clearly here. But will he be available?
Porter Jr. could be drafted before Steelers are on the clock
I think the Pittsburgh Steelers have overvalued strong family bloodlines in the past, but I don't think that would be the case if they drafted Joey Porter Jr. Though his lack of ball production scares me (just one interception in four years), he's a long, physical cornerback with an amazing feel for the game.
Porter's freakish length and gritty play style could potentially make him one of the best cornerbacks in the game at the next level (if he can cut down on penalties). But the Steelers aren't the only team that knows this.
Cornerback is one of the 'money' positions in the NFL, and we typically see a handful of CBs off the board each year by the mid-first round. This year should be no different. Recently, Oregon's Christian Gonzalez has been projected to be the top cornerback selected, while Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon will be up there as well.
With a handful of CB-needy teams, it seems unlikely that Porter Jr. will even be available to the Steelers with the 17th overall pick. Additionally, in a deep cornerback class, it would be unwise to trade up in order to secure Porter's services.
The Steelers have met with numerous cornerbacks who are considered to be day-two prospects. This could be their fallback plan if they happen to miss out on Porter.
Clearly, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a strong interest in drafting the son of their former Pro Bowl defender, and I am very confident that Joey Porter Jr. is going to be a good player at the next level. Now it could just come down to his availability when this team is on the clock in the 2023 NFL Draft.