PITTSBURGH — One of the biggest question marks surrounding former Penn State and new Pittsburgh Steelers CB Joey Porter Jr. was his lack of interceptions at the college level.
In his three seasons starting at Penn State, Porter became a college football star.
With his size, length and ability to shut down whatever receiver thrown in front of him, Porter became a player many expected to go in the first round of this year’s draft.
He ended up falling to the second round (pick 32), and the Steelers were happy to get him.
Fast forward almost four months, and the Steelers the rookie cornerback get his first interception of his career on Saturday against the Bills. It came on a Cover 2 play where Porter Jr. was pressed up on the line of scrimmage and threw Bills receiver Khalil Shakir into the sideline.
Porter Jr. broke down his interception, and it shows off the ball skills that a lot of people think he did not have. While he is still working to fully jell with the rest of his defense after some inconsistent availability throughout training, Porter Jr. knows his two key strengths. His length and the press coverage ability that comes with that standout length.
“This is a big part of my game,” Porter Jr. said. “My coach and I talked about that, my size, length and everything. They gave me these arms for a reason, I gotta use them. I try to use them anytime I can. That was a big part of that moment for me.”
But the interception can do more for Porter Jr. than just showcase what he could do. For his confidence, an interception is a massive boost, especially when he only registered one interception throughout his career at Penn State. Patrick Peterson had his first interception in a preseason game, and he noted that boost for him in that arena.
“It took me back to my days as a rookie,” Peterson said. “My third preseason game, I got my first interception. And I’ll never forget what they did for me entering the season.”
It’s not hard to imagine the boost that Porter Jr. will get from that, and he now heads into Thursday’s game against the Falcons. Now, it will be about going through the trials and tribulations of being an NFL cornerback. There will be times he struggles, but the battles with George Pickens have already prepared Porter Jr. well for what he will see on the football field.