STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Joey Porter Jr. #9 of the Penn State Nittany Lions warms up before the game against the Villanova Wildcats at Beaver Stadium on September 25, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Joey Porter Jr. #9 of the Penn State Nittany Lions warms up before the game against the Villanova Wildcats at Beaver Stadium on September 25, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

What Are The Main Concerns About Joey Porter Jr.?

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Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. made his moves this season in more ways than one.

He showed improvement on his game film and he declared for the 2023 NFL Draft.

In my October 31 article, “There’s Something Missing About Joey Porter Jr.,” I criticized how reluctant this cornerback looked in his 2021 game film to provide support, and I questioned his will to win.

While he still dogs it sometimes in support, he looked better this past season in pass coverage. He didn’t look like he was out there guessing as much, and he was a heck of a lot more aggressive at the route breakpoints.

Where’s his short-area burst?

This is a must have for a corner to end up on the board in the opening round at First Round Mock, and Porter has not shown it these past two seasons.

However, the more I watch him, the more he reminds me of Auburn’s Roger McCreary who went in the top of the second-round to Tennessee (No. 35) in the 2022 NFL Draft.

What McCreary lacked in burst, he made up for in technique that looked wise beyond his years.

I’m not saying Porter is wise beyond his years, but he did grow up around the game (his dad is the legendary Steelers’ linebacker Joey Porter), and what he lacks in burst, he makes up for with aggression.

He was inconsistent in press-man coverage defending slant patterns, but he did manage to position nicely a few times and get those long arms in there to knock the ball away.

Aggressive, maybe too aggressive?

Aggression wins in the NFL, but not when it comes to penalties by cornerbacks.

In this three-game study, Porter committed three penalties while in pass coverage. Last season, during the final five games of the season, he was flagged for eight penalties that were pass interference, holding or a personal foul (247sports).

Porter has developed a reputation for being super aggressive in coverage, even the television announcers talk about it. He’s super “handsy” with receivers.

I love aggression, but I don’t love it when it covers up for a lack of ability and equals the same thing as a catch after the penalty.

It almost felt like someone talked to him and used the strategy of being more aggressive to try to gloss over his known limitations.

“Ah, he’s just being aggressive…”

The big concern

He can get out of control at route breakpoints, especially on routes when receivers slam on the brakes (comebacks) and work back to the quarterback.

Porter showed this on sudden hard cutting routes inside as well.

This resulted in him surrendering larger throwing windows as he scrambled to recover.

Does his dad’s NFL career make a difference?

It makes a difference to scouting departments that a family member succeeded in the NFL.

Scouting departments look at this as predictive indicator, and having a dad who played at a high level in the league, will help his draft stock.

Porter’s dad was selected in the third-round (Colorado State) and played from 1999-2011 for the Steelers, Dolphins and Cardinals.

#9 Joey Porter Jr. 6-foot-2, 198 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s Final 2023 NFL Draft Grade: Second-Round (I would not select him)

First Round Mock Big Board: TBD

Bust Probability: Medium

Projected by 75.1% (up from 64.2% on October 31) of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of December 23, 2022 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

2022 game film reviewed: Auburn, Purdue and Ohio State (click to view games watched to form this evaluation)

Level of competition: High

2021 stats: 51 tackles (40 solo, 11 assists), 4 passes defended, 1 INT., 1 forced fumble

2022 stats: 27 tackles (21 solo, 6 assists), 8 passes defended, 0 INT

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report:

Aggressive lanky corner with long arms and good playing speed. Featured in press man, off-man and zone. Solid at all three route levels (short, medium and deep). Best in press-man and zone. Provides too much cushion in off-man. Handsy and does an excellent job impeding routes. Inconsistent achieving leverage against quick slants. Can defend passes, but lacks playmaking burst. Inconsistent providing support against the pass and run. Somewhat reluctant at times against the run. Inconsistent tackling technique. Will be a solid No. 2 corner in the NFL.

Final words

I am not 100% sold on him.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated New York Jets and he is the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock

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