All indications pointed toward Joey Porter Jr. becoming the first Penn State Football defensive back selected in the first round of the NFL draft in Penn State’s history.
Most mock drafts even had Porter Jr. going somewhere in the mid- to late first round, most notably to the Steelers where his dad played at pick 17.
Instead, Porter Jr. slid down the board and out of the first-round Thursday night.
While Porter Jr. is now the betting favorite to land with his father’s former team at pick 32 overall becoming the first Nittany Lions defensive back picked in the first 32 picks, there were only 31 picks in this year’s first round with Miami’s forfeit of its first-round pick and Penn State’s curse at defensive back continues for at least one more year.
Inside the Penn State Football DB Curse
In the 2022 NFL draft, Jaquan Brisker became Penn State’s highest drafted defensive back in history when he was selected at pick 48 in the second round.
Prior to the 2022 draft, the record for Penn State’s highest drafted defensive back dated all the way back to 1958 with Les Walters being selected by the Baltimore Colts in 1958, which was a fourth-round pick at the time.
Overall, throughout Penn State’s long history, Penn State defensive backs have only been selected three times in the second-round, five times in the third-round, and six times in the fourth-round.
Porter Jr. will surely add to that total for second-round picks Friday. Ji’Ayir Brown should also hear his name called on day 2.
So, is Penn State cursed at defensive back?
For a school with 40 total first round picks, it is odd that Penn State has never produced a first-round pick at defensive back. Penn State has produced 10 first-round running backs, seven first-round defensive linemen, and six first-round linebackers. While many thought Porter Jr. would break Penn State’s curse, Penn State may not need to wait long before the curse is actually broken.
Early mock drafts for 2024 include Penn State cornerback Kalen King in the first-round.
Matt Johnson from Sportsnaut stated “If [King] passes the test of becoming a No. 1 cornerback for a power 5 team this fall, he’ll be a top-10 pick”.
While Penn State doesn’t have a deep history at producing top picks at defensive back, Penn State safeties coach Anthony Poindexter and cornerbacks coach Terry Smith have put together an extremely talented defensive back room that should break the curse in the next few years.