Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. carries the potential to be the first cornerback drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-2, 192-pound Porter is a supreme athlete. With the NFL Scouting Combine fast approaching, Porter can establish himself as the class’ CB1 with an outstanding performance, which is the expected outcome.
Porter possesses the length and physicality necessary to develop into a shutdown cornerback. He’s the perfect piece to counteract today’s high-octane passing offenses. We’ve identified Porter’s four best NFL draft fits.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
The Raiders are in a prime position to select the first cornerback with the seventh overall selection—and Porter could be that guy. Las Vegas’ draft plans largely depend on what they decide at quarterback following the departure of Derek Carr. Las Vegas requires a No. 1 cornerback to command their defensive backfield.
The Raiders’ 29th-ranked passing defense allowed 242.9 yards through the air per contest in 2022. Rock Ya-Sin, Anthony Averett, and Sidney Jones are currently set to reach unrestricted free agency. Ya-Sin will probably be re-signed, but the Raiders need to pair him with a more appropriate running mate. Playing in the AFC West alongside the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert makes rostering big-time cornerbacks a necessity.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The Patriots may have dodged a bullet by letting J.C. Jackson depart in free agency, but Bill Belichick failed to appropriately replace Jackson on the boundary. The Patriots prefer to play man coverage on a consistent basis, but the likes of Jonathan Jones and Jack Jones lack the physical presence necessary to instill fear in the hearts of opposing receivers in one-on-one situations.
The towering Porter would immediately fill that void. New England’s passing defense is routinely tested against common opponents such as the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins. There’s plenty of star power within the division, and more could soon be arriving if the New York Jets acquire Aaron Rodgers. Porter would fill a sizable need in Foxboro.
The Cardinals are entering the draft in an interesting position. They own the No. 3 overall selection. With a franchise quarterback already in the fold in Kyler Murray, the Cardinals could draft the best defensive player available (Jalen Carter or Will Anderson Jr.). New general manager Monti Ossenfort could also trade the pick to a QB-needy team.
New Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon is a defensive-minded leader that will aim to improve Arizona’s leaky defense. The Cardinals allowed a 31st-ranked 26.4 points per contest in 2022. Gannon understands the impact a shutdown cornerback can have on a defense. Porter could be a target for the Cardinals in a trade-back scenario.
Dan Campbell’s Lions nearly qualified for the 2022 postseason despite starting 4-7. The Lions captured victories in five of their final six contests. Expectations will be higher for the Lions in 2023, and Campbell may be entering a do-or-die campaign.
Improvement can’t be achieved without fielding a stronger passing defense. The Lions allowed 245.8 passing yards per game. Only the Minnesota Vikings (265.6) and Tennessee Titans (274.8) were less effective at combating passing attacks. The Lions own two first-round selections (No. 6 and No. 18 overall) in April. Porter will be a popular mock draft pick for the Lions at No. 18.
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