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With NFL Draft looming, Penn State legend likely staying in PA

The former Nittany Lion standout defensive back could be starting his next chapter in PA.



Joey Porter Jr., NFL Draft, Penn State football
© Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

Last Friday, the Nittany Lions hosted their annual pro day in State College, PA. Seeing as Penn State football is known for developing some top NFL Draft picks, many of the NFL’s top scouts were in attendance, and no one got more attention than Penn State football standout Joey Porter Jr., who is currently favored to go early/middle first round. For the in-state Pittsburgh Steelers — who need some defensive back help right now — Porter makes a lot of sense, meaning the former Nittany Lion All-American may be staying in the state after all.

Despite NFL transition, Joey Porter Jr. Likely staying in PA

Throughout the past three years, Joey Porter Jr. has been one of the top defensive backs in the Big Ten. In fact, in his most recent season with the Nittany Lions’ football program, Porter helped lead Penn State’s defense to an incredible season, which concluded with a 14-point win over Utah in the Rose Bowl game on January 2nd.

Throughout his three seasons playing for Penn State football, Porter used his size and talent to lock down some of the nation’s top wide receivers — he appeared in 30 college football games, making 94 tackles, recording one sack, intercepting one pass, and defending another 19 passes. Porter was one of the highest-graded corners in all of college football, and is now regarded as one of the top defensive players in this year’s NFL Draft.

Does it make sense to take Porter with one of the top picks in the draft?

In just about every mock NFL draft, Joey Porter Jr. is favored to land in Pittsburgh to start next season. If the Steelers want a corner that can come in and take over some serious snaps right off the bat, Porter is their guy. Here is what Johnny McGonigal of PennLive had to say about Joey Porter Jr. and the Steelers:

I thought about not picking the Steelers here to avoid being predictable. But sometimes projections, even when they seem too good to be true, make too much sense not to happen. Porter’s connections to Pittsburgh are well-documented. His dad was a Pro Bowl linebacker and Super Bowl champion with the Steelers. Porter is a North Allegheny alum and is friends with Mike Tomlin’s sons.

But most importantly, the Steelers need help at corner. It’s the biggest hole on their roster, and Porter is one of three first-round corners. There’s a chance Pittsburgh might have to trade up. But if four QBs go in the top 10 — and there’s a good chance that happens — that could push Porter down into Pittsburgh’s range.

Joey Porter Jr. has numerous ties to the state of Pennsylvania; he grew up in PA, attended high school in PA, graduated from the biggest university in PA, and now, could start his pro football career in PA as well. Additionally, Porter’s father — Joey Porter Sr. — began his NFL career with the Steelers, and even served as Steelers assistant coach in the 2010s.

Drafting Porter Jr. would make a lot of sense for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it could keep a Pennsylvania legend in the state for a long time to come.

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Chris Mangum is currently a Penn State student and serves as a writer and editor covering Big Ten athletics. He has served as a beat writer, online reporter, print reporter, and more over the past few years of his career. He currently serves as the managing editor for Basic Blues Nation and others.