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The reason why I single out the Pittsburgh Steelers to take Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr. in the 1st-round of the 2023 NFL Draft are fairly obvious. His father played for Pittsburgh from 1999-2006 and made three Pro Bowls as a Steeler.
Granted, Porter Sr. played under former Steelers coach Bill Cowher. Current coach Mike Tomlin didn’t take over until the year after Porter left Pittsburgh. But, Porter Sr. worked on Tomlin’s staff as a linebackers coach from 2015-18.
Tomlin was a long-time defensive backs coach in college and the NFL. Also, the Steelers draft 17th in the 1st-round Thursday and cornerback is one of the biggest needs for Pittsburgh entering the draft.
Betting Odds for “Position of Pittsburgh’s 1st Drafted Player” in the 2023 NFL Draft
As you can see, offensive lineman is the favorite for Pittsburgh’s 1st draft choice. That said, the Steelers were league average in pressure rate allowed and 10th in adjusted line yards per snap, according to Football Outsiders.
Also, Pittsburgh let four defensive backs walk in free agency including two starting cornerbacks. The Steelers did sign CB Patrick Peterson this offseason but Peterson is well past his prime.
Furthermore, there’s a clear top-three in the cornerback class for the 2023 NFL Draft, which includes Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon, Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez and Porter Jr.
According to NFL.com, Porter Jr. had the 3rd-highest grade of any cornerback at the Scouting Combine. Porter Jr. was behind Gonzalez and Witherspoon.
NFLMockDraftDatabase.com aggregates thousands of mock drafts and hundreds of draft big boards. Well, Porter Jr. is the 3rd-best cornerback in the consensus big boards and 14th overall.
Per NFLMockDraftDatabase.com, Witherspoon and Gonzalez are both expected to be drafted in the top-10 and Porter Jr. is projected to go 16th to the Washington Commanders.
However, according to NFLMockDraftDatabase.com’s data, the Steelers are taking a cornerback with the 17th pick if they can’t get Porter Jr. (Maryland CB Deonte Banks).
Witherspoon has been mocked to the Detroit Lions more than any other team. The Lions could go defensive line with their 6th pick and take Porter Jr. with their 18th pick.
Either way, I don’t see a world where Porter Jr. falls out of the top-20 or past the Steelers at 17. And at +170, Porter Jr. to be drafted inside the top-20 is my favorite bet of the 2023 NFL Draft.
BET: CB Joey Porter Jr. is selected #19 or lower in the 2023 NFL Draft at DraftKings
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