STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 24: Cornerback Joey Porter Jr. #9 of the Penn State Nittany Lions breaks up a pass intended for wide receiver Finn Hogan #17 of the Central Michigan Chippewas during the second half at Beaver Stadium on September 24, 2022 in State College, Pennsylvania.

Could Joey Porter be the name the Eagles call on draft night? As discussed earlier in the week, the Eagles need some cornerback help this offseason. The duo of James Bradberry and Darius Slay was great in 2022. But James Bradberry is a free agent, and Darius Slay has just one year left on his deal. The Eagles could really benefit from bringing in a young corner that they know they will have for 4-5 seasons on a rookie deal. And that has been on the wish list for Eagles fans for years now.

For various reasons, that never quite happened. It is hard to complain because the Eagles still had good picks in the last couple of drafts instead of a corner. But they probably need to come out of this draft with one. This draft is too deep at corner, and their need is too big, for them not to land one. We have already looked at Christian Gonzalez from Oregon. But now let’s get to know another option for the Eagles, who local fans may already be familiar with. Joey Porter Jr from Penn State.

 The Penn State product is in that top class of cornerbacks this year. He is big, physical, and is one of 5 guys who could be the first CB off the board. But is Joey Porter Jr. a good fit for the Eagles? Will his name be called on draft night? Or is he someone the Eagles should avoid? Here are 5 things you should know about him.

  • An Eagles Fans Dream Cornerback

     For years, Eagles fans have wanted the type of Cornerback that can play press man and erase the opposing WR. But the Eagles have not run that style of coverage scheme in a long time. So often we see our corners lined up off the LOS. Maybe the Eagles will go away from that though after the disaster that was their defense in the Super Bowl. And if the Eagles want a Press Man Corner, Joey Porter is a name they could fall in love with. 

    At 6ft2, Joey Porter 194Lbs, Joey Porter makes for an imposing figure at CB. But he is not just tall, he also has long arms that make him a pro when it comes to breaking up passes. And the tape backs that up. In 10 games this season he came away with 11 pass breakups. Opposing QBs had a QB Rating of just 63.6 when targeting him. He erased opposing WRs all year long in the Big 10. He also has surprising speed for a corner his size. Porter has shown himself to be capable of closing gaps late to make a play on the ball.

    And all that production this past year meant he had to clear out a ton of space in his trophy case. Several different outlets had Porter on their 2nd team All-American team. Every outlet, including the coaches, named him to the First team All-Big 10 team. Penn State named him the MVP on defense. And he was also the Chuck Bednarik player of the week once and was on the Bronco Nagurski Watch List.  

    Everything about Porter Jr. screams that he is the type of player Eagles fans will fall in love with as we approach the draft.  

  • Son of an NFL Star

    Porter Jr is no stranger to the NFL. After all his dad played in it for years. Joey Porter Sr. was a linebacker for the Steelers, and later the Dolphins. In 13 seasons he racked up 98 sacks, and 25 forced fumbles. He was a First Team All-Pro once, a Second-team All-Pro 3 times, made the Pro Bowl 4 times, and won a Super Bowl with the Steelers.  

    Porter Jr. plays a different position than his dad. But he built a name for himself with a similar play style. Both father and son make their money playing a physical type of Football. Whether it is the dad rushing after the passer, or the son smothering a WR. Both excel when they can put their hands on somebody. And if he ends up half as good as his dad was, he will still make for a pretty good Football player.  

    Porter Jr. acknowledged the expectations on him because of his dad way back when he was in high school, and how he wants to create his own legacy, not just follow in the footsteps of his dad.

    “They look at my dad and they look at me. They think I’m going to do the same thing as him but it’s totally different. I’m trying to make a name for myself and be my own person, so I’m sticking to this (position) for as long as I can.”- Joey Porter Jr. on playing Corner instead of Linebacker like his dad

  • Not a Fit for Every Scheme

    The issue for Joey Porter will be that he is not a fit for all systems. If you ask him to be a Press Man Corner, he will be at home. But if you run a system that asks him to play off coverage, like what the Eagles did under Jonathan Gannon, some of his weaknesses may be exposed. Scouts say he lacks lateral quickness. Which may give him issues if you line him up off a WR preventing him from being able to use his physicality right off the snap.  

    So, whether he will be a fit here depends on who they bring in to replace Jonathan Gannon. Eagles fans would certainly love it if the Eagles played more press next year. But if they are going to keep playing off coverage, there may be better CB options for that specific scheme than Porter Jr. But it is hard to argue with how good the tape looks, and his overall skillset.  

    Porter also has issues with penalties. That kind of comes with the territory when you play the style Porter Jr plays. He likes to be up in the WRs face. And when you do that, you will occasionally get a flag for being too physical

  • Quickly Matured Off The Field

    It can be easy for young athletes walking into a college on a full scholarship to get a big head. And Joey Porter Jr. will tell you that himself. Coming into Penn State as the son of an NFL great, there was hype for him, and he initially bought into that hype.  

    “Coming into college, everybody in high school is thinking they’re the man. They’re the guy. They should get this, that… that’s what I thought when I came in. I felt like I was the man; I was the next guy up.” -Joey Porter Jr to Reporters Via Zoom 

    But he had a coach that was not going to let him get a big head. Penn State’s DB Coach Terry Smith took Porter Jr. under his wings once he got on campus. And the results paid off. Like with many young kids, he got humbled a bit in college. His first couple of years did not go perfectly, with QB Ratings against over 100 in both seasons. But Porter Jr. put in the work, and as we discussed earlier in the article, it paid off. As Terry Smith put it, he came to Penn State as a “kid” and left it as “a man”. 

    “Just in the maturity factor. When you’re young, we think we all have the answers, and as we get older, we start to listen a little more and have a little more faith in trust in the things around us, and that’s what he’s done. He’s trusted us and given us full faith. He’s done a tremendous job. He’s worked his tail off. This guy’s constantly in the weight room, out on the field. In the meeting room. Everything that he’s getting, he’s absolutely worked hard for and deserved to get.” – Penn State DB Coach Terry Smith to Reporters Via Zoom

    You can forgive an 18-year-old kid for not being completely mature. Very few of us weren’t, and we weren’t hyped of Football prospects with a famous father. What is important is he quickly grew. He put the hard work in, and that showed on the field as he improved every season.  A good sign that he can still improve even more, and will be willing to put in whatever work is necessary to get better at the next level.

  • Played His Best, Against the Best

    The Big 10 is no SEC. But if you are a Big 10 Cornerback, it is a lock you will be lining up against future NFL WRs at least once a year. As a certified Ohio State hater, I am loathed to give them credit for anything. But they develop WRs better than almost anyone. It seems like every year there is at least one WR coming into the draft from Ohio State.

    Michael Thomas and Terry McLaurin both got their starts at Ohio State. Last year Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson both went in the first round of the draft. And now this year they have Jaxon Smith-Njigba who will be among the first WRs off the board. And Marvin Harrison Jr will one day be a first-round pick too. Playing for Penn State, Joey Porter has tussled with all of these guys before. And to his credit, he held up pretty well, even if his team didn’t. In two games vs them, lining up against Wilson, Harrison, and Olave, he gave up just 45 yards.

    It can be hard to judge corners in college because they are not always going up against NFL talent. But Joey Porter did, and he smothered 3 NFLL-caliber WRs for the most part. That is as sure of a sign as any that Porter is capable of making that transition to the NFL. That is a good mix of both physical and speedy WRs that he lined up against, and he held his own against all of them.  

  • For more on the Eagles Draft Needs...

    The Eagles Off-Season Needs on Defense

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