CB Joey Porter Jr. couldn’t have landed in a better spot to start his NFL career.
Sure, the obvious is that Porter got drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team his father, Joey Porter Sr., started his NFL career with back in 1999 and went on to win Super Bowl XL while getting named to multiple Pro Bowls and being named a first-team All-Pro in 2002.
Outside of the legacy narrative, Porter Jr. is in the ideal environment to kick off his career. He was drafted by HC Mike Tomlin, who has a personal relationship with him and has the best intentions for his players. He will be coached by DC Teryl Austin and DB Coach Grady Brown, two coaches who stress fundamentals and had the secondary leading the league in INTs last season. He will also have the opportunity to learn from CB Patrick Peterson and S Minkah Fitzpatrick, two Pro Bowlers who have played this game at a high level during their time in the league.
Peterson has mentioned in the past that he looks forward to mentoring Joey Porter Jr., stating that the torch will be passed onto him now that Peterson is in the twilight of his NFL career. However, talking with Joey Porter Sr. and Bryant McFadden on the All Things Covered podcast, Peterson mentioned that he and Fitzpatrick will serve as examples to Porter not only in how to play on the field, but also in holding teammates to your personal standard as a future leader of this football team.
“A guy like myself and Minkah, it gives him an opportunity to learn his way, to give him an opportunity to figure out things, the right things to do, the wrong things to do, how to prepare your body,” Peterson said on All Things Covered. “And not only that, how to bring other guys up to your standard. That’s going to be the major key for me passing on to him.
How do you uplift other guys’ talent to your standard? Because you’re here for a reason. They took you as their #1 corner pick in the 2023 draft. So, there is a standard, but at the same time, watch these older guys and learn your way. So, when it is your turn, you just take the torch and run with it.”
Porter won’t be expected to step in and lead right out of the gate. He has established veterans around him who will serve as the leaders in the secondary, allowing him to develop and grow into the player and leader he can be in due time.
However, Peterson does mention that he expects Porter to hold guys accountable and bring them up to the standard he has set for himself. While Porter technically wasn’t a first-round pick, he was a premium selection by the Steelers and is expected to become this team’s long-term solution at the CB position. Peterson and Fitzpatrick have had these same expectations put on them and they relish the role of leading by example, whether it be in film study off the field or the standard of play you expect for yourself and your teammates on it.
While he may be a rookie, Porter can set the standard for those around him based on his work ethic and the example he provides daily. He just needs to look to fellow teammates like RB Najee Harris, who held himself to such a high standard as a rookie and was recognized as a team captain in just his second season due to the standard he held his entire team to. Given the fact that he was raised by Joey Porter Sr. and has already sought out the knowledge of Peterson and Fitzpatrick, I have no doubt that Joey Porter Jr. will be able to take that torch, as Peterson mentioned, and hold that standard of excellence high for himself as well as his teammates.