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2023 NFL Draft preview: 5 cornerbacks that could interest the Lions

Joey Porter Jr. has more going for him than having a name that is well known to NFL executives and fans.

His father, Joey Porter, played linebacker for 13 NFL seasons for the Steelers, Dolphins and Cardinals.

His name no doubt gets Porter noticed, but what he did on the playing field for four seasons at Penn State is what makes him one of the top-rated cornerbacks in this year's draft.

The Detroit Lions could be interested in drafting a cornerback to upgrade that unit.

Porter has two traits that teams covet in cornerbacks – size (6-2.5) and speed (4.45 in the 40).

Porter was assigned No. 1 on the jersey he wore at the Combine. He took that as recognition for his status.

"I feel like I'm CB-1 for a reason," he said in his Combine interview. "I think I'm the best cornerback here."

His father was known for his fiery personality on the field. Porter was asked what his personality is like.

"I kind of get like my dad on the field," he said. "And like my mom off the field.

"I think that's a better mix."

Following is a preview of the 2023 cornerback draft strength, the Lions' depth and draft priority at the position, and five prospects who could interest the Lions.

View photos of the top cornerback prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Cornerback draft strength: A strong position in terms of potential first-round draft picks.

Lions' depth, draft priority: The position has to be upgraded, and the Lions have a surplus of draft picks to do it.

Five prospects who could interest the Lions:

(40-yard dash times are from Combine and Pro Day workouts as available.)

1. Christian Gonzalez, Oregon:

6-1, 197. 4.38 40.

Transferred to Oregon after two years at Colorado State. Started all six games in the 2020 Covid season and all 12 in 2021 before transferring. In 2021 he had five pass breakups and 3.5 tackles for loss. Played 12 games in 2022 at Oregon and intercepted four passes with 11 passes defended.

Bottom line: Size and athleticism make him a candidate to be the first cornerback drafted.

2. Devon Witherspoon, Illinois:

5-11 1/2, 181.

A four-year player with 42 games played, 22 of them in his last two seasons. Five career interceptions, three in 2022. Also, 10.5 career tackles for loss and 30 passes defended.

Bottom line: The Lions did well in the 2022 draft by taking Illinois safety Kerby Joseph in the third round. Joseph had four interceptions as a rookie, three of them off Aaron Rodgers of the Packers. The Lions might score another hit in the Illinois pipeline.

3. Joey Porter Jr., Penn State:

6-2 1/2, 193, 4.46 40.

A four-year player, he played four games as a 2019 freshman and eight in the 2020 Covid season. He started all 13 games in 2021 and 10 in 2022.

Bottom line: Porter inherited some of his father's football instincts.

View photos of the 2023 Detroit DEA Maltz Challenge honoring Marine Lance Corporal Jeremy S. Shock.

4. Cam Smith, South Carolina:

6-1, 180, 4.43 40.

A four-year player – three games in 2019 and 30 in the last three seasons. For his career, six interceptions, 24 passes defended and 3.5 tackles for loss.

Bottom line: Established himself as a starter in 2021, allowing multiple catches in just two of 11 games and 15 catches for the season.

5. Kelee Ringo, Georgia:

6-2, 207. 4.36 40.

A two-year player, Ringo had four career interceptions. 19 passes defended and three tackles for loss. Posted 76 career tackles – 63 solos and 13 assisted.

Bottom line: Ringo missed his entire first year because of surgery. Started all 30 games his last two seasons.

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