The Washington Commanders’ defense has been playing lights out since benching and trading former free agent signed cornerback William Jackson III. The Commanders have done very well in the NFL Draft when selecting secondary players who are developing into reliable starters such as corner Benjamin St-Juste, safety Darrick Forrest, and safety leader Kam Curl.
Even though Kendall Fuller and Benjamin St-Juste have been playing well, Washington is still missing that key third corner to complete the puzzle of a secondary hitting it’s stride. Fuller and St-Juste have been a great pair that complements the rest of the secondary well, but Washington has had to use Rashad Wildgoose and Danny Johnson in the slot, with Bobby McCain filling in this week against the Texans.
Fuller and St-Juste have both played well in the slot and can play inside and outside. Adding a lockdown outside corner like Joey Porter Jr. from Penn State would add another staple in a pass-heavy league. The struggles on defense when Fuller and St-Juste played inside came when they didn’t have reliable outside help by Jackson III. St-Juste has looked the part outside, so Fuller with his smaller size and experience in the slot would be an easy move. Fuller also has been the one corner with consistency issues, and also has only one more year on his contract with Washington wanting to spend money elsewhere on the team.
Enter Joey Porter Jr, son of former Pittsburgh Steeler great Joey Porter. The redshirt Junior from Penn State is a 6-2 195-pound corner who started the last three seasons, including his redshirt freshman season. Porter pops on tape and has gathered many accolades along the way in his Penn State career, including an impressive likely final season as a Nittany Lion.
Why the Commanders should make Penn State star Joey Porter Jr. their next franchise cornerback.
Porter Jr. is a lengthy physical corner who can press your best wide receivers at the line, and run stride for stride with them in their route. He might not have the flash interception numbers, but he leads the nation in pass breakups, and is one of the best hand-fighting corners in the nation when quarterbacks actually decide to target him.
His long strides make it easy for him to close distance form wide receivers who do get separation in man, or when he’s playing zone and the ball is headed to its target. He has very fluid hips and excellent acceleration that allows him to pick up speed for his size, and flashes his change of direction. The lockdown corner has all the physical traits and tools you look for in a NFL corner from his size, athleticism, hand fighting skills, and movement.
There’s still a lot of untapped potential in the corner, and scouts see that his game can go to another level. In the NFL, I’d like to see Porter lower his stance instead of playing high sometimes because of his height, and sink his hips more. He is one of the best at contending the catch, but he could look back sooner and work on playing the ball more to increase his turnovers, and cut back pass interference penalties that the league loves to throw.
Porter Jr. also showed he can play in the slot against the route running tight ends taking over the NFL, and bully those shifty slot wide receivers. This is my favorite cornerback class in the NFL Draft in a long time, but Joey Porter Jr is my favorite fit for Washington with his natural size, tools, and potential for even more growth to have a long career in the NFL.
A corner room of Porter and and Ben St-Juste on the outside with Kendall Fuller in the slot would be terrifying for offenses.
Washington will likely have a mid-first round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, which will be perfect to select Joey Porter Jr. The Commanders have other needs that I’ll address in future articles, but a weak offensive line class has Washington going with the corner position, and back-to-back Penn State players in the first round.