Joey Porter Jr Got An Epic Pep Talk From His Dad As He Slid In The Draft, And Wound Up On Pops' Team In The End
Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. must've had the Steelers' area scouts all over him this year. Or maybe not, considering his dad used to be a stud linebacker for the franchise and was a Super Bowl XL champion. The elder Porter was a four-time Pro Bowler when that was still a cool honor. In other words: Knows what it takes to succeed in the NFL.
But Porter Sr. also knows the pain of sliding in the draft. He didn't hear his name called till 73rd overall in Round 3 of the 1999 draft. Then he saw his son's stock plummet in spite of buzz that seemed to almost guarantee he'd be a Day 1 selection.
The literal first pick in the second round wound up being Joey Porter Jr. to Pittsburgh. All's well that ends well, right? I'm stunned he lasted that long. Once Washington took a swing on 166-pound corner Emmanuel Forbes at 16th overall and the Steelers moved up from No. 17 to 14 for Georgia left tackle Broderick Jones, Porter's logical first-round landing spots began to dwindle. Will Levis' stunning fall took a lot of attention off what happened to Porter. I thought he was a considerably better prospect. Happened to be at a less high-profile position I suppose.
Coveted fifth-year contract option notwithstanding, I'm pretty sure Porter will be better off for how things worked out in the grander scheme of things. And that's the main point his father is trying to drive home. Surely Porter Jr. would want to prove himself in the NFL on his own merits regardless of where he was drafted. He's worked his ass off to get to this point. However, the NFL is a different beast. If it wasn't, most high draft picks would work out and very few would bust. The shadow Porter's dad casts is pretty large — especially so since the son is staying with his hometown team. But as we hear in this pep talk, there's going to be that little extra fuel for Porter Jr. to take to the gladiatorial gridiron every Sunday.
As a Bengals guy, it's tough for me to admit that the Steelers had one of my five favorite draft classes overall. Hope I'm wrong, to be honest. They made out really well by getting Porter, which was the pick they received from Chicago in that Chase Claypool trade. What a freaking heist that appears to be in retrospect, especially if Porter is as good as I think he can be.
Not that I'm worried about Pittsburgh's corners giving the tandem of Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins that many problems. Still, they should have at least a snowball's chance in Hell now with Porter in the fold. He's a long, strong, physical guy whose frame and football IQ cover up any perceived lack of fluidity in his hips. I think that's a bit overblown but that's just me.
Anyway. Cool candid father-son chat between the Porters as the young man goes through what had to feel like one of the more embarrassing moments of his life. It'll be even cooler from a pure, objective narrative standpoint if Porter rises up from this disappointment and balls out. Then we'll see this as one of those viral draft clips that they replay most years when referencing prospects who tumbled out of the first round. I'm selfishly kind of rooting against it of course, but rest assured — Joey Porter Jr. has that DOG in him.