Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we turn our attention to the offseason and everything that means. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.
Player: CB Joey Porter Jr.
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The rookie cornerback has begun taking some reps with the first-team defense, according to Patrick Peterson, who also told reporters that they should expect to see the rookie on the field this season “early and quite often”.
It’s hard to reasonably make hard and fast declarations after two weeks’ worth of voluntary football in shorts, but the early reports about the Steelers’ rookie class have been pretty consistently positive. That includes the top two draft picks, both of whom have been reported as having taken at least some snaps with their respective first-team units.
For 32nd-overall pick Joey Porter Jr., that means lining up at cornerback with the starting defense. This information was given to reporters by cornerback Patrick Peterson, though he didn’t exactly specify the exact scenario.
One would presume that these snaps came while the Steelers “dibbled and dabbled”, in Peterson’s words, with the veteran cornerback playing in the slot, which would have allowed the rookie to work his way up and line up with the starters on the outside.
Porter told reporters this past week that the first couple of days of practice were rough for him, but that he’s since gotten the hang of things, including the speed of practices, and is growing comfortable with what he’s doing.
The Steelers have one more week of OTAs coming up and then a three-day mandatory minicamp before they all go on an extended break to prepare for training camp. That’s another two weeks of growth for Porter and the other young players before they get thrown into the fire at Latrobe.
But the Penn State product should know what he’s in for. He’s surely heard plenty of stories from his father, Joey Porter Sr., about what training camp is like. We’ve seen a number of times in recent years that players with family in the league, past or present, tend to be better prepared.
OTA accounts are going to be slim, because the team more than at other periods of the year is very restrictive about what they will allow out. Basically, the only way we know of anything that happens is if a reporter can get a player to mention it or otherwise confirm that it happened. So thanks to Patrick Peterson for spilling the beans on Porter at this early stage.