Joey Porter Jr.

Steelers CB Levi Wallace Assured Of Starting Role

The Steelers’ cornerback room will look significantly different with free agent addition Patrick Peterson and second-round rookie Joey Porter Jr. How large of a workload the latter handles right away will go a long way in determining Pittsburgh’s secondary plans.

As detailed by Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, Porter is firmly in contention for a starting role as a perimeter corner (subscription required). If he is able to secure that spot, Peterson would be well-positioned to transition from outside corner duties to more of a hybrid alignment which would see him log considerable time as a safety alongside Minkah Fitzpatrick. Such a scenario was discussed between Peterson and the Steelers’ coaching staff not long after his arrival on a two-year deal.

In the event Porter earns a first-team spot, veteran Levi Wallace would line up opposite him. The latter logged a 76% snap share in 2022, his first Steelers campaign. The former Bills UDFA had a strong showing with four interceptions, 13 pass deflections and a 53.2% completion percentage allowed in coverage. One year remains on his contract, and he is due to carry a $5.48MM cap hit – more than a reasonable rate for a full-time starter at the CB spot.

As Kaboly notes, Wallace is assured of starting regardless of if Porter wins the job opposite him, or Peterson is used in his traditional corner spot. In the latter case, Porter would be used off the bench and Chandon Sullivan would be used in the slot. Matching his performance from last season would allow Wallace, 28, to handle and uptick in playing time and put himself in a strong position ahead of free agency while giving Pittsburgh a consistent performer in the secondary.

Beyond that, questions will be raised about Porter’s readiness to play a major role as a rookie – something he was thought to be capable of coming out of college as one of the highest-rated members of this year’s strong corner class. At the age of 33, a move to safety would also likely pay dividends for Peterson with respect to prolonging his career and ensuring his effectiveness with a third career team.

Steelers Agree To Terms With CB Joey Porter Jr., Finalize Draft Class Deals

The Steelers have become the latest team to wrap up their rookie deals in advance of training camp. Second-round corner Joey Porter Jr. has agreed to terms on his first NFL deal, per Mark Kaboly of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Porter’s case was quite unique, since he was selected with the No. 32 pick. The Dolphins’ forfeited Day 1 selection made the Penn State alum a second-rounder despite his draft slot traditionally being that of a first-rounder. The matter of guaranteed money in particular emerged as a sticking point as negotiations went on, with Porter having a legitimate case to secure a fully guaranteed pact.

That did not take place, but he still secured a signficant financial windfall. Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 tweets that the first three years of the four-year, $9.62MM deal are guaranteed in full. Porter will receive a signing bonus of just under $4MM, and, like a number of high-profile members of the 2023 draft class, he will see it paid in full upfront.

The son of former Steelers player and coach Joey Porter, the 22-year-old should be expected to immediately hold down a starting spot. The CB room underwent signficant changes in Pittsburgh this offseason, with free agent signing Patrick Peterson representing the most accomplished veteran amongst the additions made. Corner was long thought to be a position of need entering the draft, and things fell perfectly into place for the Steelers to add left tackle Broderick Jones with their first selection and Porter with their second.

The latter spent four years in college, during which time he established himself as one of the top members of a deep corner class. While Porter only recorded one interception, he routinely displayed the physicality made possible by his 6-2, 200-pound frame. Translating that to the NFL level will go a long way in helping a new-look Steelers secondary attempt to bring the team back to the postseason.

Here is the full Steelers’ draft class:

Round 1, No. 14 (from Patriots): Broderick Jones, OT (Georgia) (signed)
Round 2, No. 32 (from Bears): Joey Porter Jr. CB (Penn State) (signed)
Round 2, No. 49: Keeanu Benton, DT (Wisconsin) (signed)
Round 3, No. 93 (from 49ers through Panthers): Darnell Washington, TE (Georgia) (signed)
Round 4, No. 132 (from 49ers through Panthers): Nick Herbig, LB (Wisconsin) (signed)
Round 7, No. 241 (from Vikings through Broncos): Cory Trice, CB (Purdue) (signed)
Round 7, No. 251 (from Rams): Spencer Anderson, G (Maryland) (signed)

Top Second-Round Picks In Mix For Fully Guaranteed Contracts

Signing second-round picks continues to be a slow-moving process for many teams. Fourteen second-rounders remain unsigned. That accounts for almost half the unsigned draftees remaining from this year’s class.

No. 39 overall pick Jonathan Mingo receiving three fully guaranteed years and part of his 2026 season locked in has undoubtedly caused the gridlock for teams negotiating with players chosen shortly after the Panthers wide receiver. The Nos. 40-48 picks have not signed their rookie deals. But more clarity came earlier in the round; the Nos. 34-39 players have inked their respective rookie contracts. Three-year guarantees are now the standard in that slot range. But the two players chosen atop Round 2 are likely looking to further adjust the draft pay structure.

Neither Joey Porter Jr. (Steelers, No. 32 overall) nor Will Levis (Titans, No. 33) have signed. Agents for both players are likely aiming to land fully guaranteed deals for their clients, and’s Howard Balzer notes others in the agent community view full guarantees as in play for the two second-round leadoff picks. No second-rounder has secured a fully guaranteed deal since the 2011 CBA implemented the slot system.

The first round has featured fully guaranteed deals for just two years. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, the No. 32 overall picks in 2020 and ’21, received partial fourth-year guarantees. But last year’s 32nd pick — Vikings safety Lewis Cine — effectively closed the book on the partial guarantee era for first-rounders, receiving all his money ($11.494MM) guaranteed. As such, this year’s final first-rounder — Chiefs defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomahsigned a fully guaranteed $11.818MM deal. The tide now appears to be rising toward Round 2, putting the onus on the Steelers and Titans to offer more player security.

Since the NFL stripped the Dolphins of their first-round choice, Porter has a clear case for a fully guaranteed pact. Had the Sean PaytonTom Brady tampering matter not removed Miami’s slot from the equation, Porter’s draft slot would have arrived in Round 1. As a quarterback, Levis has some additional leverage as well. Levis securing a buttoned-up deal may be more notable going forward, due to his No. 33 slot, but he will probably need Porter’s help.

A drop-off in guaranteed cash took place after Cine in 2022; Buccaneers No. 33 overall selection Logan Hall only received $225K of his $1.98MM 2026 base salary guaranteed. This year’s 34th overall choice — Lions tight end Sam LaPorta — has already done better, securing $408K of his 2026 salary guaranteed. Porter and Levis look to be aiming to follow Cine in moving the bar forward for picks in this range, though the gap between Anudike-Uzomah’s guaranteed money and LaPorta’s overall guarantee ($9.47MM) does provide a reasonable bridge for the Pittsburgh and Tennessee rookies to cross.

This can be considered a fairly minor development; the 2011 CBA’s slot system removed much of the haggling and ensuing holdouts involving rookie contracts. But any second-rounder securing a fully guaranteed deal will represent a notable hurdle cleared, as the slot system has now been in place for 13 drafts. It will also be worth watching to see if the Steelers and Titans attempt to hold the line, thus bringing holdouts into play this year. Titans rookies report to camp July 22, with Steelers opening July 26.

AFC North Notes: Ravens, Steelers, Ossai

Lamar Jackson‘s foray as his own agent involved years of proposals and counterproposals, and while the former MVP received criticism for playing out his rookie contract, the Ravens rewarded their centerpiece player with a record-setting deal. That $52MM-per-year contract includes $135MM fully guaranteed. While that is not in the Deshaun Watson stratosphere — a range Jackson sought to enter — it places the sixth-year veteran second for full guarantees. One of Jackson’s proposals along the way included a three-year, $156MM fully guaranteed deal, Albert Breer of notes. The Ravens did not relent on term length, but Jackson’s proposal probably factored into the final result. By March 2024, Jackson will see his guarantee total balloon to $156MM.

The Ravens made a seismic bet Jackson (11 missed games since 2021) will stay healthy, as this contract locks them in through 2025 at least. Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • While the Steelers drafted Joey Porter Jr. 32nd overall, he was in consideration for their first-round selection. Had the Steelers not traded up to draft tackle Broderick Jones at No. 14, The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly notes they likely would have chosen Porter at 17 (subscription required). Teams often paint rosy pictures of their draft plans in the aftermath, but Porter — who visited the Steelers’ facility, a place he is quite familiar with due to his father’s history with the team — was viewed as a first-round talent who slipped a bit. The Steelers did make it known the 32nd pick was available, and as Will Levis also fell out of Round 1, they received multiple offers. But they now have Jones and Porter in the fold.
  • Joseph Ossai‘s final-seconds hit on Patrick Mahomes may well have denied the Bengals a second straight Super Bowl berth, giving the Chiefs a better chance of avoiding overtime. Following Harrison Butker‘s game-winning field goal, Ossai headed toward a rehab-filled offseason. The edge rusher suffered a torn left shoulder labrum during a December game against the Browns and played hurt the rest of the way. Ossai, who had rebounded from a full-season rookie absence (due to a meniscus injury) to play 19 games last season, is expected to be ready for training camp, Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets.
  • When the Steelers brought Bud Dupree in for a visit, they wanted to re-sign their former first-round pick back to a two-year deal, Kaboly adds. A previous report indicated the Steelers did not discuss terms with Dupree, but it does appear the club had a preferred contract range — one that would have helped keep the edge rusher’s 2023 cap number low. Dupree signed a one-year, $3MM Falcons deal that could spike to $5MM.
  • On the subject of contracts that did come to pass, Rock Ya-Sin‘s one-year Ravens deal will be worth $4MM. That amount is fully guaranteed, according to OverTheCap. This will give the former Colts and Raiders cornerback a chance to re-establish his value for a possible 2024 free agency bid.
  • Shifting back to Pittsburgh, the Steelers will see some front office turnover. Mark Gorscak, who has been with the team for 28 years, will retire from his scouting post this offseason, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes. Also known for his role as the Combine’s 40-yard dash starter, Gorscak follows another Steelers staffer in place since the 1990s — assistant coach John Mitchell — as mainstays departing the team this offseason.
  • The Steelers are hiring former Raiders southeast area scout Zack Crockett to work in the same capacity, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 tweets. Crockett, who enjoyed a 13-year career (mostly with the Raiders) as a fullback, spent the past 14 years as a Raiders scout. Las Vegas’ Dave Ziegler– and Josh McDaniels-led regime parted ways with Crockett, 50, earlier this offseason.

Steelers Select CB Joey Porter Jr. At No. 32

Although the Steelers received multiple offers to move out of No. 32 overall, the team will follow through and partner with a familiar face. They are taking cornerback Joey Porter Jr. atop the second round.

As they did with ex-Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett, the Steelers have extensive intel on Porter. He is the son of longtime Steelers linebacker Joey Porter and attended a Pittsburgh-area high school and Penn State. The second-generation NFLer worked out at the Steelers’ facility at points leading up to the draft.

The Steelers hosted Porter on a pre-draft visit, going through an official meeting with a player they knew well. Pittsburgh also met with other corners during the visit window, but after addressing their tackle need in Round 1, the team will tab Porter. The Steelers lost Cameron Sutton in free agency and are planning to experiment with Patrick Peterson at safety.

Porter declared for the draft after his redshirt-junior season, and although he did not intercept a pass in 2022, Pro Football Focus charged him with just one 15-plus-yard completion allowed. The second-team All-American deflected a career-high 11 passes last year. He will join a Steelers team that signed Peterson but one that entered the draft with a dire need at corner. The Steelers still have Levi Wallace and Ahkello Witherspoon on their roster, but each is going into contract years. And each is signed to a lower-middle-class contract.

While the No. 32 pick normally comes with a fifth-year option, the Dolphins being stripped of their first-rounder for tampering moved this into the second round. Porter’s rookie contract will run through 2026.

Draft Notes: Porter, Jones, Washington, Murphy, Anudike-Uzomah, Banks, Branch

Pre-draft visit season wrapped up this week, but teams squeezed in several meetings before the deadline. A few booked Joey Porter Jr. visits. The Penn State cornerback met with the Eagles, Giants, Saints and Panthers before Wednesday’s deadline, according to KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson and’s Ian Rapoport. Porter also visited the Steelers, Ravens and Raiders previously. Graded as a first-round talent, Porter stands to follow Devon Witherspoon and Christian Gonzalez off the board at some point on the draft’s first night.

Here is how other prospects’ visit itineraries wrapped up:

  • The Steelers closed their visit schedule by meeting with both tackle Broderick Jones, tight end Darnell Washington and edge rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah, according to’s Brooke Pryor and The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly (all Twitter links). Jones, whom ESPN’s Scouts Inc. and’s Daniel Jeremiah rate as a top-20 prospect, met with the Chiefs, Jets, Patriots, Bears and Cardinals during the visit window. The Steelers briefly considered Orlando Brown Jr., and Mike Tomlin indicated he was comfortable with the team’s current Dan MooreChukwuma Okorafor tackle setup.
  • Anudike-Uzomah and Washington also met with the Buccaneers, per Wilson and’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter links). One of two high-level Georgia tight end prospects, Washington will enter the draft at least a year ahead of standout pass catcher Brock Bowers. After two sub-200-yard years, Washington totaled 454 and two touchdowns as a junior. Going 6-foot-6 and 264 pounds, Washington profiles as an in-line tight end with some receiving upside. Anudike-Uzomah totaled 19.5 sacks over the past two seasons at Kansas State. Both players profile as fringe first-round talents, with Jeremiah ranking Washington as the third-best option in this year’s deep tight end class.
  • Scouts Inc. rates Clemson’s Myles Murphy a few spots ahead of Anudike-Uzomah, at No. 23 overall, and the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala notes (via Twitter) the Commanders took a recent look at the edge defender this week. After extending Daron Payne, Washington still rosters its four first-round D-linemen. But only one of the four (Chase Young) arrived during Ron Rivera‘s tenure.
  • Much of the NFL wanted to meet with Deonte Banks. The Maryland cornerback spent extensive time in two of the country’s time zones. In addition to his meetings with the Raiders, Ravens, Commanders and Steelers, Banks visited 10 more teams — the Saints, Titans, Vikings, Texans, Giants, Buccaneers, Eagles, Jaguars, Bears and Bills — before the pre-draft meeting buzzer sounded, Rapoport tweets. Jeremiah slots Banks 24th overall, ranking the ex-Big Ten cover man as this year’s fourth-best corner. A former three-star recruit, Banks earned a starting job as a freshman. A shoulder injury halted his junior year after two games, but the 6-foot defender bounced back last season to close his career on the first-round radar.
  • The Giants also huddled up with safety/slot defender Brian Branch this week, Wilson tweets. The Alabama contributor had previously met with a host of teams. New York expected to re-sign Julian Love this offseason but lost the safety to Seattle. The team, which selected slot corner Cor’Dale Flott in last year’s third round, signed veteran Bobby McCain to a low-level contract and has Xavier McKinney returning from an injury-marred season.

AFC North Draft Rumors: Steelers, Ravens, Bengals

There have been quite a few rumors surrounding the Steelers’ potential approach to the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette held a Q&A this week to discuss his thoughts on some of those rumors.

Many fans had questions about potential options at wide receiver, and Dulac made his thoughts very clear: no higher than the third round. With Diontae Johnson and George Pickens in place, Dulac doesn’t see any need to dip into the first two rounds to add to the group. He mentions Ole Miss wide receiver Jonathan Mingo as a name to lookout for, as Mingo has been predicted to go around the third or fourth round.

Another fan asked about the possibility of Pittsburgh trading up in the first round. Dulac dismissed the rumors as just that, insinuating that looking into trades is a common occurrence for the Steelers that doesn’t always lead to action. He referenced last year, when the team reportedly looked into trading up for quarterback Kenny Pickett, who would end up falling to them at their original position, anyway.

Here are a few other draft rumors from around the AFC North:

CB Joey Porter Jr. Visits Ravens, To Meet With Raiders

Most of the headlines surrounding the Ravens and Raiders this offseason have been centered on the quarterback position, but both teams have other positions to address. Cornerback is one of them, and Baltimore and Vegas are checking in on one of the top available prospects ahead of this month’s draft.

The Ravens hosted Joey Porter Jr. on a top-30 visit today, and the Raiders will soon do the same (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). The Penn State alum is, to no surprise, the product of growing interest from teams in need of additions on the perimeter. Porter has already had a local visit with the Steelers, the team which housed his father for years as both a player and coach.

Given that connection, there would be a degree of irony if the rival Ravens were to add Porter with their top pick, No. 22. Rapoport’s colleague Daniel Jeremiah has them doing just that in his latest mock, which sees two other corners (Illinois product Devon Witherspoon and Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez) drafted in the top eight before Porter. That generally falls in line with rankings at the position, with the trait which sticks out for the 6-2 product most being his length and physicality.

That allowed him to total 20 pass breakups across his four seasons with the Nittany Lions, and in some cases draw comparisons to Ravens All-Pro Marlon Humphrey. The latter is under contract in Baltimore through 2026, but fellow starter Marcus Peters remains a free agent. Peters’ likely absence in the 2023 lineup has led to many expecting Baltimore to spend its first pick on a corner like Porter, especially if no notable signings are made before the draft.

Vegas likewise has at least one hole to fill in their CBs room. Anthony Averett and Rock Ya-Sin are both unsigned. The latter had a free agent visit (with the Ravens, no less) soon after the new league year started, but all potentially interested teams are standing pat this close to the draft. Depth additions like Brandon Facyson and Duke Shelly will not deter the Raiders from adding a high-end corner prospect, though taking Porter seventh overall would be seen by many as a reach. Vegas’ next pick is No. 38, a point by which he is likely to be off the board.

Steelers Meet With CB Joey Porter Jr.

Like Kenny Pickett last year, the Steelers are plenty familiar with Joey Porter Jr. The son of the longtime Pittsburgh linebacker nevertheless went through the official process of a pre-draft visit with the team, Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes.

The younger Porter is one of the top cornerbacks available in this year’s class, but because of the Penn State product’s local ties, the 6-foot-2 defender does not count against the Steelers’ 30 allotted pre-draft visits. Porter has been training at the team facility at points during the pre-draft run-up, per Rutter, working with his father in advance of a near-certain first-round selection. The Steelers had a chance to study Pickett up close, with the quarterback having played at Pitt; Porter attended high school in the Pittsburgh area before his Nittany Lions run.

Porter Sr. — a 1999 third-round Steelers pick — spent eight seasons with the franchise, collecting a Super Bowl ring as a starting linebacker for the 2005 team. The brash defender later served on Mike Tomlin‘s staff from 2014-18. His son joins Christian Gonzalez (Oregon), Devon Witherspoon (Illinois), Emmanuel Forbes (Mississippi State) and Deonte Banks (Maryland) as those expected to be first-round picks at the position this year.

Porter declared for the draft after his redshirt-junior season, and although he did not intercept a pass last season, Pro Football Focus charged him with just one 15-plus-yard completion allowed. The second-team All-American deflected a career-high 11 passes last year. ESPN’s Scouts Inc. grades Porter as this year’s No. 19 overall prospect;’s Daniel Jeremiah slots him 15th. Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock sends Porter to the Patriots at No. 14 overall and Banks to the Steelers at 17.

The Steelers will be one of the teams connected to corners in Round 1. They let Cameron Sutton walk, not offering him a deal on par with what the Lions proposed, and added Patrick Peterson. But Tomlin is preparing to use Peterson at both corner and safety in his age-33 season. Pittsburgh has Levi Wallace and Ahkello Witherspoon each tied to $4MM-per-year contracts; both pacts expire after the 2023 season.

Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr. Declares For Draft

Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. announced on Twitter today that he intends to forgo his senior season (as well as his team’s bowl game) in order to prepare for and enter the 2023 NFL Draft. The son of former NFL linebacker Joey Porter just concluded an impressive redshirt junior season that saw him breakup a career high 11 passes.

The younger Porter came to Happy Valley as a consensus four-star recruit and the fourth-best athlete in Pennsylvania out of North Allegheny HS outside Pittsburgh. Porter quickly added 40 pounds to his 6-foot-2, 160-pound frame, giving him a lean, long, NFL-ready physique. He also took his four-star potential out of high school and became the top cornerback on many pundits’ boards coming out of college. He’s a big, physical cornerback with elite speed. There’s not too much to nitpick besides his lack of turnover production.

Porter has been a staple on a Nittany Lions team that has ranked top-10 in scoring defense for each of the past two years. This season Porter held opposing receivers to 5.86 yards per pass attempt under new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. Over his four years of play, including a true freshman season that saw him appear in only three games, Porter racked up 113 tackles, two for a loss, 20 passes defensed, and one interception.

Porter is widely projected as a first-round pick with some placing him around the early 20s. He’ll compete with Georgia’s Kelee Ringo and Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez to be the top cornerback off the board, according to early predictions from ESPN.