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Joey Porter Jr. is going to be the most intriguing training camp story

Joey Porter Jr., the first pick of the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, finally signed his rookie contract on Tuesday.

I’m not exactly sure why this took so long, considering rookie contracts are slotted in the NFL, nor do I know how this could have developed into some summer-long drama, but I’m glad it’s finally over.

Why?

Because I’m really excited about Peezy Jr. and what he could do for a Steelers cornerback room that has needed a star since the days of Ike Taylor. And, even then, “Uncle Ike” was mostly a B-list celebrity on a Steelers defense that included A-listers Joey Porter Sr., James Farrior and Troy Polamalu.

You might say the Steelers have needed a true superstar at the corner position since just moments after Rod Woodson left as a free agent during the 1997 offseason.

And you’d likely be right.

Sure, there have been some very good ones, including Taylor, Deshea Townsend and Joe Haden, but those guys certainly never approached the elite level of their position.

This isn’t to say Porter Jr. will reach that level, but the Steelers were never going to find a guy who possibly could unless they went out and drafted one with a premium pick.

There has always been a certain stigma surrounding the Steelers’ ability to draft and develop cornerbacks–at least in the social media/Mike Tomlin era–and I guess it’s because they’ve mostly failed to do so.

But I’d like to think the Steelers’ failures to select quality corners have more to do with where they usually draft in the first round–the 20s–and less to do with their own abilities to develop them.

It’s no secret that the best cornerback prospects don’t normally last beyond the top 10 of any draft, and that’s because they’re almost always in short supply.

That wasn’t the case in the 2023 NFL Draft, however. No, there were as many as five cornerback prospects projected to go in the first round, with Porter’s name routinely appearing in the mid-teens–right around where Pittsburgh was selecting at 17.

However, as Steelers fans are often inclined to do, they showed concern about the possibility of Porter coming to Pittsburgh. Not because he was a Porter, mind you, but because he was a corner. The fans showed similar concerns about people named Devon Witherspoon and Christian Gonzalez. Sure, they seemed more worried about Porter, but that was only because he was often mocked to the Steelers during the many weeks and months leading up to the actual draft.

When the Steelers decided to move up three spots in the first round and select Broderick Jones, a left tackle from Georgia, you could almost hear a collective sigh of relief coming from Steeler Nation.

Steelers fans are just naturally suspicious of cornerbacks, and it’s hard to blame them.

Having said all of that, I think they got a gem in Porter, who thankfully dropped to the first pick (32nd, overall) of the second round.

Porter has the size, speed and physicality to play the cornerback position at an elite level. Furthermore, he showed great improvement during his years at Penn State.

Why can’t Porter continue to evolve in the pros?

I don’t know about you, but other than the progress of second-year quarterback, Kenny Pickett, I’m going to spend the summer looking for training camp updates on Porter.

Is he showing out at camp? Is he making plays during those ever-popular seven shots drills? Is he shutting down George Pickens? Is he at least shutting down Calvin Austin III?

I want Porter to be a star, not just because of who he is, but because of the position he plays.

The Steelers need a superstar cornerback, and it might as well be Joey Porter Jr.

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