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It’s time for the Steelers to embrace the youth movement

The rookies have played well when given the opportunity. It’s time to embrace it.

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr. (24) intercepts a pass in the end-zone intended for Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) during the fourth quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr. engraved himself into the Ravens-Steelers rivalry by getting a game-changing interception in the fourth quarter of the Steelers’ 17-10 win on Sunday afternoon. Now, heading into the Week 6 bye, Porter’s interception is one of just many signals to the Steelers coaching staff — it’s time for the Steelers to embrace the youth movement.

Fans have been clamoring for the rookie to get increased snaps, especially with the play of both starting cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Levi Wallace. With Levi Wallace again struggling in the first half, the Steelers made a change, putting Porter Jr. in. The results? It was his first career interception in a time when momentum was shifting in the Ravens’ direction.

Porter Jr. is not the season’s only rookie producing for the Steelers. Second-round pick Keeanu Benton has stepped up tremendously with injuries on the defensive line to DTs Cameron Heyward and DeMarvin Leal. Benton, each week, has progressively seen more snaps on the field, playing a career-high 33 shots against the Ravens after playing 29 snaps against the Texans a week prior. Benton has also shown some excellent versatility early on, playing both inside and outside on the defensive line.

Did any of you hear first-round pick Broderick Jones’s name mentioned much on the broadcast at all on Sunday? Me neither, which is a great thing!

Jones held his own in his first career against a fierce rival, earning a PFF blocking grade of 74.8 — a pretty good start for the rookie. Jones played in Dan Moore’s usual LT spot as Moore suffered a knee injury during the Houston Texans game last Sunday. Moore has struggled mightily this season, allowing 20 pressures in the four games he has started in the young season.

Although the Steelers usually rely on vets and allow the rookies to get acclimated within the system, these last few weeks have shown that it’s time to veer from tradition and let the kids play.