Joey Porter Jr. is expected to hit the field sooner than later but at least one beat writer expects it to be as soon as possible. As in, the first snap of the 2023 season.
Appearing on 93.7 The Fan Friday, The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly said he thinks second-round pick CB Joey Porter Jr. will open the year as one of the Steelers’ starting cornerbacks.
“They view him as the starter,” Kaboly said via The Fan. “He would have to go to camp and totally implode to get that ripped away from him.”
Porter became the 32nd overall pick of this year’s draft, the first player taken on Day Two. Porter was expected to be a first-round pick and the Steelers said after the draft they viewed him as such a talent but he slipped to the top end of the second round. Despite receiving plenty of interest to trade out of the pick, the Steelers remained at their spot because Porter was still available.
With great size and length, Porter fits the Steelers’ scheme, a system that wants to play plenty of press-man coverage. That was evident based on how Pittsburgh drafted, taking Porter at the top of the second round and then Cory Trice Jr., who boasts similar height/weight/length credentials, in the seventh round.
There’s no question Porter will see the field almost immediately. The question is if he’ll leap Levi Wallace and Patrick Peterson on the depth chart and take the literal first snap of the season in Week One against the San Francisco 49ers. In recent years, the Steelers’ top draft picks have hit the field and become immediate contributors but Porter bumping Peterson and Wallace is a taller task.
Regardless of the depth chart, Porter will be an impact player as a rookie. To have a successful first season, he’ll need to continue refining his technique and get comfortable in off-man and zone coverage. Splash plays would be a bonus too after picking off just one pass at Penn State. That’ll jive with the Steelers’ aggressive mindset after tying for the league-lead with 20 interceptions last season.