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Second Round, Pick 32, Joey Porter Jr., CB, 6-2, 193 lbs., Junior, Penn State
With the first selection of the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Steelers selected cornerback Joey Porter Jr. of Penn State. The pick was the one acquired from the Steelers last season at the trade deadline from the Chicago Bears in exchange for wide receiver Chase Claypool.
Porter, the son of former Steelers star and assistant coach Joey Porter Sr., brings a rare length to the position, using his 34-inch arms to force bad throws and get pass breakups.
"He's got a lot of great attributes, size, competitive, athletic, tough," Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said of Porter. "We're looking forward to him coming in and competing. We're looking forward to him contributing this year. There's no redshirt."
Porter was a three-year starter for the Nittany Lions and had 114 tackles, 21 pass breakups, two tackles for a loss and one interception.
Porter had six pass breakups in the opening game of the 2022 season for the Nittany Lions and was rarely tested after that, allowing just nine receptions on 26 passes thrown his way.
He'll be added to a corner group that already includes veterans Levi Wallace, Ahkello Witherspoon, James Pierre and newcomer Patrick Peterson, added in free agency to help offset the loss of Cameron Sutton in free agency.
"I really loved the way our guys competed last year," Austin said. "We led the league in interceptions, but we also gave up too many big plays."
The Steelers tied for the league lead with 20 interceptions in 2022, but also allowed 12.2 yards per reception, which was 31st in the NFL.
Porter ran a 4.46-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and also showed off a 35-inch vertical jump, a number he bettered at 37 ½ inches at the Penn State pro day.
But he also didn't do any of the change-of-direction agility drills, but Austin said that doesn't bother him.
"Big guys don't move like smaller players, but they find a way to get the job done," Austin said.
The reason for that is the length. And Porter excels as a press coverage corner, something the Steelers haven't had perhaps since Ike Taylor was in his prime.
He'll battle for a starting spot as an outside cornerback this season, and with the addition of Peterson, an eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback, the Steelers have perhaps the perfect player from which Porter can learn.