Mike Tomlin Reveals Why the Steelers Didn’t Trade Sought-After Pick

Getty Mike Tomlin coaches on the sideline.

Thanks to a fleecing of the Chicago Bears (Chase Claypool for pick No. 32), the Pittsburgh Steelers were in possession of a sought-after draft selection. The phones were undoubtedly ringing at Pittsburgh’s south side headquarters late on April 27 into the morning of April 28. While general manager Omar Khan and assistant general manager Andy Weidl certainly entertained offers, none of them were sweet enough to do away with such a prestigious standing. After all, they already knew who they were picking at 32.

“We were open to doing business, particularly if someone was interested in doing some drastic business if someone really wanted that pick,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said on the May 18 episode of the Rich Eisen Show. “We just didn’t get enough action to stimulate us. There was a guy there that we were very familiar with that we thought was definitely worthy of that pick. We probably would have been comfortable with him much earlier than that. There was a position of need for us and so it was going to take a significant maneuver by someone to get us off the spot but we were open. It’s just prudent business to be open.”

“That guy” — as we now know — was Joey Porter Jr.

With the First Pick of the Second Round, the Steelers Select Joey Porter Jr.

The Pittsburgh Steelers love bloodlines (as explained by Mike Tomlin here). As a legacy player, they were high on Joey Porter Jr. – just not that high. They were very lucky to have landed him where they did, as many draftniks had him going off the board in the first round, some in the top 10.

The pre-draft buzz was between Porter and an offensive lineman, and the lineman won out. The Steelers didn’t have to give up much (a 2024 third-rounder) to move up three spots with the New England Patriots to grab their guy – Broderick Jones – at pick 14. They didn’t trade back up into the first to snag Porter, he was waiting for them on day two.

Porter was visibly upset when he was still in the green room at Kansas City’s Union Station at the end of day one. His father consoled and urged him to use the snub as motivation on game day.

“There’s nothing like motivation, right,” Porter Sr. said. “They want to see a pissed-off football player, now they got one. You see what I’m saying? So now, follow me when I say, when I be giving you little nuggets about what we gotta do and how we gotta work. Just follow me because this will be part of the whole motivation now. You know where you were supposed to have went and all that. We ain’t got control over that. That’s why I was trying to prepare you for anything, ’cause I already know anything can happen.”

From the looks of it, the rookie Porter will get an early chance to display that chip on his shoulder. ESPN’s Brooke Pryor reported, per Steelers DB Patrick Peterson, that he took first-team reps with the defense in the Thursday, June 1 practice. “JPJ has been working with all defensive units through OTAs, but one thing’s clear: he’s going to be on the field early and often,” she tweeted.

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