Tracy Porter, CB #22
Hometown: Port Allen, LA
Experience: 5 years
The Denver Broncos made a huge signing in the offseason, and no, we’re not talking about Peyton Manning.
Denver signed Tracy Porter, formerly of the New Orleans Saints, to a one-year deal in the offseason, and he’s already paying off.
In his fifth year as a professional, Porter’s in the perfect spot in his career––he has the experience of a veteran but the youth to still make some of the most athletic plays anyone’s seen.
With the Saints, Porter quickly became one of the best cover corners in the NFL. His 2008 rookie season was cut short due to a wrist injury, but he bounced back in a big way in 2009. Porter started 11 games for the Saints that year, defending a career-high 12 passes while intercepting four more. But it was his playoff performances that put on display just how dominant he can play.
In the NFC Championship game, he punched the ball out of Vikings’ receiver Bernard Berrian’s hands, forcing a fumble, which his team recovered. Later in the contest, with Minnesota driving for a game-winning score, he picked off a Brett Favre pass that kept the game tied and sent it to overtime. The Saints ended up winning the game and going to Super Bowl XLIV.
Porter played profoundly well in that Super Bowl, locking up with and locking down then-Colts superstar receiver Reggie Wayne.
Late in the contest, with the Colts needing a score, Porter jumped a pass from Peyton Manning to Wayne, intercepted the ball and took it 74 yards to the endzone. That score cemented the Saints’ first Super Bowl win, in which the corner played a big part. On Sunday, it was deja vu for Porter, as he intercepted Ben Roethlisberger’s pass on the Steelers’ last drive, taking it to the house for a 43-yard touchdown, which put the Broncos up 31-19.
And that was far from the only play he made all day.
The starting right corner—opposite of future Hall of Famer Champ Bailey—recorded eight total tackles while defending a career-high five passes and making one tackle for a loss. One of the passes he defended saved a touchdown, as Roethlisberger threw a rope to a wide open Heath Miller in the endzone, which Porter tipped away. The Steelers would have taken a 7-0 lead, but had to settle for a field goal and the 3-0 lead instead.
Porter has already proven he is a worthy starting corner and he’s making the case for being a top-10 cornerback in the NFL today.
Of course, playing opposite of Bailey means he’ll see a ton of passes coming his way, meaning he’ll have to fastidiously prepare each and every week.
This Monday night, he’ll have his hands full for sure, going against the Atlanta Falcons Roddy White and Julio Jones. Each receiver is tall, fast, disciplined and possesses great hands, making this week a tougher test for not only Porter, but the entire Broncos’ defense.
But Denver fans can rest easy, since they can now say they have one of the best defensive backfields to play today.
Rich Kurtzman is a Denver native, Colorado State University alumnus, sports nerd, athletics enthusiast, and competition junkie. Currently writing for a multitude of websites while working on books, one on the history of the Denver Broncos and Mile High Stadium. Find more of Rich’s Denver Broncos pieces on Examiner.com.