Skip to main content

Why Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr. Is Prospect Lions Should Watch Week 5

Why Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. could be a fit for the Detroit Lions in the 2023 NFL Draft.

With a solid degree of NFL pedigree, Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. is an intriguing prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft class.

The Nittany Lions defensive back is the son of Joey Porter, who played 13 seasons in professional football with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals. Yet, Porter Jr. is viewed highly by scouts, because of his own performance in Penn State’s secondary.

As the Detroit Lions evaluate the status of cornerbacks Amani Oruwariye, Jeff Okudah and Will Harris, among others, the team could benefit from taking a look at Porter, as his 2022 campaign unfolds.

Fans and scouts alike will have the chance to watch Porter in action Saturday, when Penn State hosts Northwestern at 3:30 p.m.

Through four games in 2022, Porter has amassed 16 tackles and nine pass breakups. He has not recorded an interception, which is largely a product of the fact that teams avoid his side of the field.

According to Pro Football Focus, he’s allowed nine completions, on 21 targets, through the first four contests of his senior season. Those nine completions have gone for a total of 89 yards and zero scores.

SI NFL Draft Bible describes Porter as “a press corner with good size — the prototypical build and attributes to be an NFL cornerback.”


Standing in at 6-foot-2, he indeed has the necessary build and length to compete at the highest level. Among his top skills is his ability to play in press coverage, as he’s uses his length to match up with receivers at the line of scrimmage.

“His long arms allow him to knock receivers off their mark and enable him to get his hands on a lot of tipped balls,” reads his NFL Draft Bible scouting report. “Porter Jr. is also asked to play quite a bit of zone coverage and has no problem adapting due to his natural football instincts.”

With this press coverage ability, he could be a solid fit in Detroit’s defensive system, under defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. Per The Ringer, the Lions have played man coverage 43.6% of snaps through three weeks. That number is the highest in the league.

Porter’s abilities go beyond coverage, however. He can contribute as a run-stopper, too, as evident by his 50 tackles in 2021.

He’s not without flaws, though. In 2021, he was flagged six times for pass interference. This played a role in his decision to return to Penn State, as opposed to entering the draft in 2022.

“He was flagged for a handful of penalties last season and can be a bit too grabby with his hands at times, an area that scouts will want to see him tame,” an NFL Draft Bible scribe wrote. “He’ll also need to bulk up his frame as he transitions to the pros.”

The Lions are in a unique position when it comes to cornerbacks. Oruwariye is in a contract year, and has taken a step back in performance. It follows a dynamite 2021 season in which he led the team with six interceptions.

Meanwhile, Okudah has stepped up his play, in his return from a torn Achilles. Detroit will also have to make decisions on Mike Hughes and Harris following the season. Both will be free agents at season's end.

With two first-round picks, Detroit may look to the defensive side of the ball for a ready-to-play contributor early in the draft. Should the play of the aforementioned current options not be satisfactory by season’s end, general manager Brad Holmes would be wise to evaluate Porter as a potential answer in the secondary.