Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr. was named to the 2023-24 Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) All-Rookie team, the team announced Tuesday. He joined Seattle Seahawks rookie Devon Witherspoon as the two rookie cornerbacks to earn the honors.
After being drafted 32nd overall in the 2023 NFL Draft to open up the second round, the team ramped Porter up slowly throughout his rookie season before finally earning a starting, full-time role in the secondary in Week 8. It didn’t take long before it became obvious that his presence on the field would need to be well accounted for in the game plan for opposing offensive coordinators.
Among rookies with 300+ coverage snaps in 2023, Porter Jr. led the pack with a 46.4% completion rate and 67.0 NFL passer rating when targeted in coverage, while tied for the third-highest forced incompletion rate at 18%. Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Porter also led that cohort with -0.28 expected points added (EPA) per target and 2.0 average yards of separation while the nearest defender in coverage — all stats showcasing his very promising start in the NFL.
For as much promise as Porter has shown in year one, he still has plenty to clean up — namely, penalties. Though he’s officially on the books for just eight penalties, he drew 12 total flags this year, tied for the second most among all NFL defenders, including four DPA calls, three holding penalties, two offsides penalties, two facemask calls and a flag for illegal use of hands.
Porter does have a particularly handsy play style, but as he looks to take the next step in year two, he’ll undoubtedly need to improve the mindfulness of his physicality and limit those costly flags. According to NFL Penalties, Porter accounted for a whopping 13.04% of the Steelers penalties in the 2023-24 season — the third-highest percentage in the league.
Earlier this week, outside linebacker T.J. Watt and safety/special teams contributor Miles Killebrew were each named to the PFWA All-NFL team for their respective contributions — a solid year in the honors column, indeed.