Joey Porter became a Pittsburgh Steelers legend because of the physical brand of football and tenacious attitude he played with every Sunday. Porter’s son, Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr., has all the tools to follow in his father’s footsteps, NFL executives, and scouts say.
“Joey Porter Jr. is a big-time prospect and he’ll definitely be a first-round pick,” an NFC personnel executive told Heavy. “He’s legit. He’s easily Penn State’s best NFL prospect, and a starting caliber NFL corner.”
Porter, 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds, doesn’t just have the ideal length that defensive coordinators covet at the position, but he showed the value of it during the Nittany Lions’ season-opening 35-31 win over Purdue, forcing 6 incompletions against the Boilermakers.
“They kept going after him, which really surprised me,” the executive said.
Porter Jr. Shows Off in Penn State’s Season Opener
For the most part, Porter was up to the task in his first game of the season, producing eight total tackles and recovering a fumble, as a strong first impression to the dozens of NFL scouts that were in attendance inside Ross-Aide Stadium.
“He’s really talented,” an NFC East scouting director, who scouted Penn State vs. Purdue told Heavy. “He has some flaws, like most players do, but he’s really talented.”
Beyond his size and ability, Porter Jr. plays like he’s the heartbeat and swagger of the Nittany Lions’ secondary, in a way that harkens back to what made trips for quarterbacks into Three Rivers Stadium a nightmare, because of how disruptive his father was up front.
Be it in Pittsburgh, as a key piece of the Steelers’ secondary next season, or elsewhere, Porter Jr. has the chance to improve his draft resumé this season.
‘He’ll Be a Really Good One’
Entering his junior season, Porter Jr. already produced 88 tackles, intercepted 1 pass, forced 1 fumble and 9 pass breakups. Far from a perfect prospect, though, this season could prove critical to Porter Jr.’s ability to rise up boards prior to the 2023 NFL draft next spring.
“He’s long, he’s fast, he’s athletic,” the scouting director explained. “He has to find some way to continuously play with the right technique, because he gets beat from time to time, because of it.”
Against Purdue, it seemed Boilermakers head coach Jeff Brohm made a conscious effort to target Porter throughout the game, trying to expose those flaws, and while Porter Jr. offered a standout performance in response, he also dropped pair of interceptions.
“That might knock him down a peg,” the executive said. “But, if you look at Jaycee Horn, he only had two interceptions in college, and he’s the son of an All-Pro wide receiver, and when he got to the NFL he already picked one off in his first five games. So, you just never know with that stuff.”
Among evaluators surveyed by Heavy, the feeling is that the moment Porter Jr. dons an NFL draft hat, he’s the type of player capable of entering the league and showing he belongs right away.
“Is he going to be Jalen Ramsey? I don’t think so,” the scouting director said. “But, he’ll be a really good one.”