STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — With the entire league watching, one of the premier cornerbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft class, Joey Porter Jr. made his closing argument to be the first player chosen at the position, during an impressive showing at Penn State’s Pro Day.
Representatives from all 32 teams in attendance, including Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles, Bears head coach Matt Eberflus, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, and Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel among the chief decision-makers who descended on Happy Valley with Porter Jr. as the day’s star attraction.
Poles’ Chicago Bears could be an ideal landing spot for Porter Jr., after trading back to the No. 9 overall selection, from the top-pick, with a hole at cornerback and a defense in the throes of a rebuild. Likewise, as the son of Steelers legend Joey Porter, Pittsburgh could make sense as a destination for the 22-year-old, as the heir apparent to recent free agent signing Patrick Peterson.
Viewed by many inside the league as a potential top-10 selection in this year’s draft, Porter Jr. opted not to run the 40-yard dash, after posting a 4.46-second 40-yard dash during the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. However, Porter Jr. posted an impressive 11-foot and 10-inch broad jump, and turned some heads with a 37-foot and 5-inch vertical leap.
Rarely targeted as a junior in 2022, Porter Jr. produced 21 solo tackles and 8 pass breakups as one of the Nittany Lions’ most consistent defenders. At 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds, Porter. Jr. has the length that NFL defensive coordinators covet at the position.
What Will Joey Porter Jr. Bring an NFL Defense?
Bears safety Jaquan Brisker was back in Happy Valley, and had a front row seat to his former — and potential future teammate’s workout.
While it’s difficult to judge from on-field drills against air, Brisker believes Porter Jr. has major upside at the next level.
“I feel like he can be great,” Jaquan Brisker said of Porter, during a recent appearance on Heavy Sports’ The Matt Lombardo Show.
Over three seasons as a starter in Penn State’s secondary, Porter Jr. logged 110 total tackles, 1 sack, and 1 interception. However, Brisker believes that stats only tell part of the story.
“He’s 6-foot-2,” Brisker said. “And he can run. He’s going to be physical at the line of scrimmage. But, he can also get off and play zone, you know toggle, if he wants. That makes him very different and unique.
“Once an NFL coach gets a hold of him, and a defense figures out what they want to do with him, I feel like he could be very dangerous.”
Joey Porter Jr. a Historic Selection?
Whether Porter Jr. follows in his father’s lofty Iron City footsteps to the Steelers, joins Brisker as one of the newest members of Poles’ new wave Monsters of The Midway, or lands elsewhere, he will likely make Penn State history.
The Nittany Lions have never had a defensive back chosen in the first-round, and Porter Jr. has made plans to attend this year’s draft in Kansas City, in hopes of becoming the first to change that history.
“It’s amazing that I’m going be the first,” Porter Jr., said at Holuba Hall, following his workout. “I’m going to go down in Penn State history. That’s something I can come back and show my kids. It’s definitely a special moment. I’m going to be the first. And really just set the tone for what’s coming behind me.”