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2023 Steelers Exit Interviews: Joey Porter Jr. and Levi Wallace

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 NFL season has come to a close. Because the Steelers are among the 31 teams who did not finish fulfilling their ultimate goal, they are in the process of wrapping up their season and moving forward into 2024.

Since the Steelers conduct exit interviews with all their players, and the fact I have done these articles in the past, we thought we would do the same here at Steel Curtain Network. By outlining two players each day, we will be able to look at their season in retrospect as well as looking toward the future. Since Coach Tomlin has previously stated he starts his interviews with rookies and those heading into free agency, we will attempt to do the same to some degree. To start, we will pair the most recent draftees with another player at the same position (if possible) as we work through this process to eventually cover the entire Steelers roster.

Next up are cornerbacks Joey Poter Jr. and Levi Wallace.

Joey Porter Jr.

Position: Cornerback
Years with the Steelers: 1
Years in the NFL: 1
Contract Status: Signed through 2026
Contract Details: $2,185,988 salary cap hit for 2024. Would cost the Steelers $7,251,080 in dead money if released.
Games played in 2023: 17 regular season
Games started in 2023: 11 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 807 (defense), 119 (special teams)
PFF score: 65.6 (60th of 129)
Notable stats: During the regular season, Porter had 43 tackles, 10 passes defensed, and one interception. According to Pro Football Reference, Porter only gave up one touchdown on the season and gave up 30 completions on 63 targets for a 47.6% completion rate.

Notes: Because the Steelers tried to protect the rookies from hitting the proverbial rookie wall, Joey Porter Jr. had to wait to finally crack the starting lineup. But once he was there, his responsibilities continued to grow. As the season went on, Porter began following the other team’s top receiver regardless of which side of the formation he lined up. Obviously, Porter’s PFF scores took a hit during this time because they don’t take into account the difficulty of a player’s matchup. Porter rose to the occasion and is now a finalist for the 2023 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. With such a successful rookie season, Porter does not need to make a huge job next year but simply continue on a reasonable upward trajectory.

Levi Wallace

Position: Cornerback
Years with the Steelers: 2
Years in the NFL: 6
Contract Status: Free Agent
Contract Details: Contract expiring with no dead money.
Games played in 2023: 16 regular season
Games started in 2023: 9 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 726 (defense), 42 special teams
PFF score: 57.9 (90th of 129)
Notable stats: During the regular season, Wallace had 38 tackles, 11 passes defensed, and two interceptions. According to Pro Football Reference, Porter only gave up 6 touchdowns on the season and gave up 40 completions on 75 targets for a 53.3% completion rate.

Notes: Steelers fans had plenty of frustrations with Levi Wallace early in the season as he continued to see the field over Joey Porter. But once he was relegated to the third cornerback position, Wallace actually thrived more in this role. At the end of the season when Patrick Peterson had to make the move to safety due to the constant injuries at that position, Wallace slid back in and performed adequately opposite of Porter. There is a role for Wallace on this defense as long as he is not set on being a starter. For this reason, if both Steelers and Wallace have a firm understanding of maximizing his skills by not being on the field for 100% of the snaps if all options are available, a reunion for 2024 is not out of the question.

Make sure you check back each day for another set of exit interviews. If you have missed any of the previous articles, they are listed here:

Broderick Jones & Chuks Okorafor


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