You’ve definitely heard his name before unless you started watching football in the past few years. His father was a nasty linebacker in the NFL, even notching 17.5 sacks as a 31-year-old linebacker for the Miami Dolphins. But Joey Porter Jr. is a much different player than his father. He’s not afraid to hit people like Sr. But Jr. plays cornerback, and he’s one of the top ones in this draft class.
- College: Penn State
- Height: 6’2.5”
- Weight: 193 lbs.
- Age: 22 yrs. (July 26, 2000)
- Year: Senior
- Hands: 10”
- Arm Length: 34”
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.46
- 10-Yard Split: 1.56
- Vertical: 35”
- Broad: 10’9”
- Bench: 17 Reps
- Draft Projection: First Round
Porter played his high school ball at North Allegheny High in Wexford, Pennsylvania. As a four-star prospect with NFL pedigree, Porter had interest and offers from 16 schools, including LSU, Miami, and UCLA. He had one official visit, to Happy Valley, and ultimately committed to the Nittany Lions.
|*2019||Penn State||Big Ten||FR||CB||3||2||1||3||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|2020||Penn State||Big Ten||FR||CB||8||24||9||33||2.0||1.0||0||0||0||4||0||0|
|*2021||Penn State||Big Ten||SO||CB||13||39||11||50||0.0||0.0||1||1||1.0||0||4||0||0|
|*2022||Penn State||Big Ten||SR||CB||10||21||6||27||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||11||1||0||0||0|
Porter garnered an honorable mention All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore, with 33 tackles and four pass breakups. He started eight games in that 2020 season, then started all 13 games as a junior in 2021. He was third-team all-conference with 51 tackles, four breakups, and an interception.
Porter had a strong senior season to wrap up his college career. He was first-team all-conference and also second-team AP All-American with 27 tackles and 11 pass breakups in 2022. He was Penn State’s Most Valuable Defensive Player as well, then opted out of the Rose Bowl to prepare for the Draft.
Incredible Length and Handwork
Almost 6’3” with 34” arms, Porter’s lengthy reach is a massive strength for him. He uses that length to disrupt receivers at the release point, and when he’s in recovery mode, it allows him to make plays on the ball if he gets beat. Porter uses that wingspan in run defense and tackling; it allows his tackling radius to be massive.
Marv rocking him to sleep on the release, playing strong through contact at the top of his route, fighting off the hold and shedding the defender while coming back towards the ball.— sfDynastyFF (Rob) (@Quintorris_) December 2, 2022
… and 9 is top 15 pick, CB Joey Porter Jr. pic.twitter.com/FQOV7dLB93
On top of the reach, Porter has really strong hands and invites receivers to test them. He’s not afraid to be engaged at the line, and he’s going to severely disrupt a receiver’s timing if he is engaged. Porter will have to learn to limit that usage downfield, and he was able to get away with some at the college level that an NFL referee would have called defensive holding on.
Physical Press Corner
Porter is ready for the NFL in this area and is one of the better press corners I have seen in recent years. I glanced on it a touch in the last segment, Porter is not afraid to get up on a receiver and mix it up. He bullies receivers until he can’t get away with it, then he sits in their back pocket on their route. Teams didn’t test Porter often because he was just so damn good in coverage.
Joey Porter Jr. dominating Ronnie Bell off the line pic.twitter.com/iIaJ4XXUJm— John Brennan (@jbrens20) March 22, 2023
If a team wants to play him in off-coverage, Porter loses some of his effectiveness, and we will talk about that in the weakness section. He’s had experience in many different schemes defensively, even safety, but if you want to maximize his potential – Porter is a press corner.
As just mentioned, Penn State was willing to use Porter in different ways. In deep safety, in a ball-hawking role, he looked comfortable. In zone coverage, Porter understands where he needs to be and flows from one receiver to another in coverage. He is willing to break coverage to help as a run develops and understands where he needs to be. Being around football his whole life undoubtedly helped, and Porter seems to understand the game well.
Lack of Fluidity in Transitions
When I said Porter should not be asked to play off coverage, it’s because of this weakness in particular. He struggles following quick transitions throughout a route. He plays with high hips and doesn’t mirror quick movements efficiently. Porter isn’t going to backpedal and then quickly react to a receiver cutting under well. He excels at getting in the receiver’s grill off the line and dictating the route.
Another thing I noticed was, in run defense, Porter is really strong if a run is coming outside and in the flat. He will come up and wrap up a ball carrier with ease. But if the run is more to the inside or on a sweep with blockers, Porter doesn’t sift through the traffic very well. He will often get caught up and not disengage quickly enough to be effective in the play. It’s an area he can improve obviously, or a team can stick him on the outside exclusively, and Porter will play to his strengths.
The Wrap Up
When it comes to this cornerback class, there are several vying for the top spot, and it depends on your team’s need and scheme. I am consistently seeing Porter mocked to the Steelers, and playing for one of his father’s old teams would be a cool story. But he fits the way they play also and would be a welcome addition to the team. Porter needs to be a place where he can play press mostly.
For IDP and fantasy, I am a streaming cornerback truther, and Porter will likely not be a guy I target. He’s going to be targeted and get some tackles, but as a player who probably won’t be involved in run defense consistently, Porter has a low production floor and ceiling. I’m not even 100% convinced he will contribute much in passes defended and interceptions. He’s good in that area, but I can’t see Porter putting up many of each statistic.
Everyone loves a great story, and Porter is one. Watching him play, you see flecks of the aggressive play style of his famous father. Playing corner is incredibly different than playing head-hunting linebacker. He’s going to make his father proud, and Jr. is going to hear his name called to the podium on April 27th.
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