Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. announced that he is skipping the team’s bowl game and declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft after yet another brilliant season for the Nittany Lions.
The 6-foot-2 Porter Jr. is seen as one of the top defensive backs in the 2023 draft class. He’s been a true shutdown guy for Penn State over the past couple seasons.
In fact, Porter Jr. has yielded a mere 59.1 QB rating when targeted this season. Opposing signal callers have completed a total of 15 passes when targeting Porter Jr.
In an NFL that values stellar cornerback play, Porter Jr. is going to be a hot commodity leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft. Just look at how well Sauce Gardner has played for the New York Jets as a rookie after they made him a top-five pick last April.
Teams want immediate production from this position and will pay a premium for that. It’s in this that we look at three ideal landing spots for Joey Porter Jr. in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Related: Sportsnaut’s 2023 NFL mock draft
Minnesota Vikings add shutdown guy of the future
Despite Minnesota’s 9-2 record this season, its pass defense just has not been great. In fact, the Vikings head into Week 13 having yielded the most passing yards per game at 276.1. It is also relying on an aging veteran in Patrick Peterson who doesn’t have a whole lot left in the tank right now.
A second-round pick last April, Lewis Cine is out for the remainder of the season due to injury. Fellow cornerback Cameron Dantzler is yielding a 77.8% completion and 105.2 QB rating when targeted. That’s just terrible. Currently slated to pick 29th overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, Minnesota would likely have to trade up for Porter Jr. But it’s a price the team should be willing to pay.
Related: Ranking NFL defenses in 2022
Pittsburgh Steelers bring Joey Porter Jr. “home”
Porter’s father, Joey Sr., played for the Steelers from 1999-2006. He’s still considered one of the greatest defenders in the history of the heralded organization. That included the linebacker earning three Pro Bowl trips and two All-Pro nods during his time in the Steel City. Wouldn’t it be awesome if his son continued that legacy?
From an on-field perspective, Pittsburgh cornerbacks Cameron Sutton and Ahkello Witherspoon are slated to hit free agency in March. The Steelers’ previously stout defense ranks in the bottom 10 of the NFL in points allowed and has given up 23 passing touchdowns in 11 games. Despite needs elsewhere, exhausting a first-round selection on Porter Jr. in the 2023 NFL Draft would make a ton of sense.
Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NFL power rankings
New York Jets team Sauce Gardner up with Joey Porter Jr.
Imagine the dynamics for Robert Saleh’s squad. Doubling down on cornerback after the home run selection of Sauce Gardner with the fourth pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. All Gardner has done in 11 games as a rookie is look like a legit All-Pro player. He’s yielding a 51.7% completion and 56.5 QB rating when targeted. This has Sauce as the odds-on favorite to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
With New York’s defense playing at an absolutely electric level under Saleh, adding another shutdown guy could make this unit nearly unbeatable moving forward. Sure quarterback could be a target in the 2023 NFL Draft given the strugles of Zach Wilson. But Joey Porter Jr. would be an absolutely perfect selection.