Joey Porter Jr. had a front-row seat to Patrick Peterson's breakout rookie season. An 11-year-old at the time, Porter spent time that season in Arizona as his father, Joey Porter, was wrapping up his 13-year playing career.
It's safe to say that the experience left a lasting impact on the younger Porter, who watched Peterson earn the first of his eight Pro Bowl selections that season.
"I just remember him coming in the door when my dad was a Cardinal and he was a rookie," Porter said during a recent appearance on the "All Things Covered" podcast with Peterson and Bryant McFadden. "I remember he beat the Rams with either a punt or kick return in overtime, and they won the game. After I saw that, I was like, 'Oh yeah, this dude is nice.' ... I've been watching him since then. He was the lockdown corner for a long time. He was the blueprint for a long time."
Peterson, who recently signed with the Steelers as a free agent, asked Porter what it would mean to him to be teammates together in Pittsburgh.
"That would be dope," Porter said. "I already know you've got a lot of knowledge on the game, and I would be asking you a lot of questions if that happened. That would be exciting."
The Steelers were one of several teams Porter met with leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft. The visit was a reunion of sorts for Porter, who essentially grew up in the Steelers' facility while his dad was blossoming into a Pro Bowl inside linebacker for the black and gold. He enjoyed getting reacquainted with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who he said he has met countless times over the years. Porter actually played high school football with Tomlin's oldest son.
"It was great," Porter said of his meeting with Tomlin during a recent appearance on "The Rich Eisen Show." "I hadn't seen him in a while, obviously because I've been at Penn State taking care of business, same as him. It was a good reunion to see him and some of the staff there. I've been going there since I was a kid. I saw a lot of old faces. I already know the facility. It was a great visit."
Porter is ranked as the 12th best player and fourth-ranked cornerback in CBS Sports' prospect rankings. The Steelers own the 17th pick in the draft, but they could possibly move up in the first round if they are willing to part with one of their other high draft picks. The Steelers, who along with cornerback may also choose to address offensive tackle and interior defensive line in the first round, could make such a move as they have two other top 50 picks (No. 32 and 49 overall) in the draft.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Porter became one of college football's top defensive backs during his time at Penn State. A four-star recruit coming out of Pittsburgh's North Allegheny High School, Porter's main attributes as a corner include his ideal length, elite ball skills and impressive size/speed combination. Question marks regarding Porter include his run-support ability and his diversity as far as his ability to fit into different schemes. Porter is largely looked at as a Cover 3 corner and not an off-man player.
While no player who gets drafted is a slam dunk, many expect Porter to be an immediate NFL starter. That would certainly be fine by the Steelers, who were 19th in the league in passing yards allowed in 2022.
Porter would be the first cornerback selected by the Steelers in the first round since Artie Burns back in 2016. While they have had considerable success drafting other positions, the Steelers have often missed the mark when selecting cornerbacks since 2000.
Notable exceptions include Ike Taylor (2003) and Bryant McFadden (2005), who both played key roles on Pittsburgh's two most recent championship teams. Another exception is Cam Sutton (2017), who recently signed with the Lions in free agency.