When will the Steelers start to lean on Joey Porter Jr.?
When the 2022 regular season ended, and the Steelers trade with the Chicago Bears for Chase Claypool was finalized, the 32nd overall pick was intriguing for many reasons. Would the Steelers keep the pick? Trade the pick? If they kept it, who would they take?
As everyone knows now, the team kept the pick and took Joey Porter Jr. with the first selection of the 2nd Round.
In a draft class riddled with quality cornerbacks, Steelers fans have watched someone like Christian Gonzalez have a huge role in the New England Patriots defense, while the Steelers ease Porter into the lineup.
Through three weeks, Porter has played sparingly, but when he’s been on the field he has made an impact. Just look at some of his numbers, per Pro Football Focus:
Joey Porter Jr. in coverage as the primary target this season:
2 forced incompletions
1 reception allowed
12 yards allowed
39.6 passer rating allowed
— PFF PIT Steelers (@PFF_Steelers) September 29, 2023
To be fair, the Steelers have slowly increased Porter’s snap count every week, but there are some who believe he should be seeing more significant snaps. Some might go as far as stating Porter should be playing more than Levi Wallace, the entrenched starter.
It’s fair to say you can never have too many good cornerbacks, and while Wallace has been a scapegoat for the Steelers’ defense throughout the early portions of the season, you can’t necessarily decrease his snaps significantly coming off a two interception game vs. the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3.
But this is the point where it becomes clear what the fans actually want. Sure, there are some who would like to see Porter take over opposite Patrick Peterson, but the majority would just want to see No. 24 getting on the field more in Week 4 vs. the Houston Texans, with that trend continuing throughout his rookie season.
If Wallace is taking the ball away, and Porter Jr. is continually on the rise, it isn’t necessarily a bad situation for the Steelers defense. But we can all agree we are excited for the day when Porter takes over as a permanent fixture on the Steelers defense.
Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Texans in Week 4.