Each offseason in the lead-up to the NFL Draft, the writers at SB Nation’s team blogs take part in the ultimate mock draft. With the Pittsburgh Steelers owning the 17th overall pick in the 2023 Draft, the hope was that one of the top prospects in the class at a position of need would fall into my lap, and as luck would have it, that exact scenario played out.
With the 17th pick in the 2023 SB Nation NFL Mock Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select...
Joey Porter Jr., cornerback, Penn State
With the top offensive tackles already off the board, it was a no-brainer to select the son of former Steelers game-wrecker and Super Bowl champion, Joey Porter, to fill a huge need on the defensive side of the football.
The Penn State CB is one of the top prospects in the draft for several reasons. He’s long (6’2, 34” arms), physical (193 lbs.), and fast (4.46 40-yard dash), and projects to be a Day 1 starter at the NFL level.
On film, Joey Porter Jr. operates as a lockdown specialist, knocking receivers off their routes in press-man coverage and expertly mirroring throughout the route. In zone, Porter displays the quick processing ability to break hard on routes underneath and the eye discipline to maintain positioning on double moves and deep routes. He is physical at the catch-point as well, as evidenced by an impressive 11 passes defended in 2022. He is also an eager participant in run support and a sure tackler on the perimeter.
The only true knock on Porter coming out is a lack of ball production with just a single career interception at the collegiate level, and zero in his final season at PSU. Despite this concern, it’s hard to not get excited about his physical style of play and his ability to affect the catch with regularity.
In Pittsburgh, Joey Porter Jr. would find himself in an ideal situation. Familiarity with the organization, coaching staff, and facilities would help smooth out the learning curve. The presence of recent free agency acquisition Patrick Peterson would further boost Porter’s development with Peterson acting as the “Batman” to Porter’s “Robin.”
DraftKings Sportsbook’s odds suggest the book sees corner as the top position the Steelers will target at No. 17, with +120 odds. The next-closest position is offensive line, with +150 odds.
Many Steelers fans would be ecstatic for Joey Porter Jr. to be the team’s top selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. If the final board on Thursday, April 27, falls similarly to this mock draft, coach Mike Tomlin and GM Omar Khan will likely run to the podium to make this pick. A young corner with family ties to the organization and plenty of upside at a position of need would be an amazing addition for the Steelers.