The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to upgrade at cornerback during the 2023 offseason. Joey Porter Jr., one of the top-ranked corners in April's NFL Draft, would relish the opportunity to play for Pittsburgh, the team his dad starred for, from 1999-2006.
On paper, it looks like a the perfect match for both team and player.
"I think it would mean a lot to my family," Porter said of the chance to play for the Steelers, via ESPN. "Been in the Pittsburgh area a while, staying home would mean a lot."
Porter is ranked as the 16th-best player and third-ranked cornerback in CBS Sports' prospect rankings. The Steelers own the 17th pick in the draft, but they could possibly move up in the first round if they are willing to part with one of their other high draft picks. The Steelers could make such a move as they have two other top 50 picks (No. 32 and 49 overall) in the draft.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Porter became one of college football's top defensive backs during his time at Penn State. A four-star recruit coming out of Pittsburgh's North Allegheny High School, Porter's main attributes as a corner include his ideal length, elite ball skills and impressive size/speed combination. Question marks regarding Porter include his run support ability and his diversity as far as his ability to fit into different schemes. Porter is largely looked at as a Cover 3 corner and not an off-man player.
While no player who gets drafted is a slam dunk, many expect Porter to be a immediate NFL starter. That would certainly be fine by the Steelers, who were 19th in the league in passing yards allowed in 2022.
As noted above, Porter's family has history with the Steelers. Joey Porter, a former outside linebacker who was selected in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft, blossomed into an All-Pro performer during his time in Pittsburgh. He played an integral role in the 2005 Steelers capturing the franchise's fifth Lombardi Trophy and first since 1979.
Porter would be the first cornerback selected by the Steelers in the first round since Artie Burns back in 2016. While they have had considerable success drafting other positions, the Steelers have often missed the mark when selecting cornerbacks since 2000.
Notable exceptions include Ike Taylor (2003) and Bryant McFadden (2005), who both played key roles on Pittsburgh's two most recent championship teams. Another exception is current starter Cam Sutton (2017), whose current contract is set to expire if the Steelers don't re-sign him by March 15.