The Pittsburgh Steelers just missed out on a chance of reaching the AFC playoffs yet again. They finished 9-8 but were beat out via tiebreaker by the Miami Dolphins for the final wild card spot. Despite missing the postseason, the Steelers are moving in the right direction. They began the season 2-6 before closing the season on a 7-2 run.

Rookie quarter Kenny Pickett took steps forward as the season progressed. He also showed that he does not buckle under the pressure. In fact, he led two full-length touchdown drives with under two minutes left against the Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens down the stretch.

Nevertheless, there is still work to be done in the offseason. The most important way the Steelers can improve their team is through the draft. The 2023 NFL Draft is slated to begin on Thursday, April 27th when we will all see the Steelers first round selection.

Every year around this time, ESPN NFL analyst Mel Kiper Jr. reveals his initial mock draft. It dropped on Wednesday, with a number of eye-opening takes. NFL and Steelers fans alike look to Kiper Jr. to mentally prepare for what their team might do come draft day.

Here is what Kiper Jr. believes the Steelers will do with the 17th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Pittsburgh Steelers Pick #17: Joey Porter Jr. – CB / Penn State

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This pick will evoke a lot of emotion and memories from Steelers fans. Kiper Jr. projects Joey Porter Jr. to be drafted to his father’s old team. Joey Porter Sr. was drafted in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Steelers and went on to have a 13-year pro career. The first eight seasons he played in Pittsburgh, helping them win Super Bowl XL.

Steelers fans would love for that to happen again with his son. Porter Jr. is a rangy, aggressive cornerback who started the last three years for the Nittany Lions. Despite only picking off one pass during his college career, he has a nose for the football. He finished with 11 pass breakups last season, in helping the Penn State secondary become one of the best units in college football.

He is 6-foot-2 with good foot speed. The Steelers have a stout front but certainly need some help on the back end. The Steelers ranked in the bottom half of the league in pass yards allowed per game. Both right cornerback Cameron Sutton and left cornerback Arthur Maulet struggled at times in press man coverage.

Porter Jr. has NFL skills that translate and could easily slide into one of those positions.

Pittsburgh also needs help on both the offensive and defensive lines. However, a ton of lineman are projected to go early in the first round of the upcoming draft. Assuming they do not have one of their elite options at those positions, Porter Jr. is a great fit for the city and the team.