Indiana's Tracy Porter is a 5'11", 185-pound cornerback with great backpedal skills, a smooth hip turn, a good nose for the ball, and excellent return ability. His Senior Bowl practices have been punctuated by sheer speed, as Porter went one-on-one with speedster receivers like Eddie Royal and Lavelle Hawkins without any difficulty.
Porter put up four interceptions in 2006 and six in 2007, and his previously questionable tackling ability improved in 2007. He was named second-team All-Big Ten in both his junior and senior years.
One debit against Porter is his relative lack of football experience, which Seahawks.NET Draft Analyst Scott Eklund mentioned in his analysis: "I love players who have immense physical talent, but haven't spent much time playing the game," Scott said. "Porter is that type of player. He only played two years of high school ball and then proceeded to start four straight years for an up-and-coming Indiana squad. As a freshman he was named to the freshman All-Big 10 squad and he took off from them improving every year he was in Bloomington. He's quick and he makes plays on the ball when it's in the air.
"Porter is very aggressive and that can cause him issues, but with his decent size and excellent top-end speed (4.35) he can make up for mistakes early as he continues to learn the game. He changes direction quickly and he's improved a lot at reading routes. He doesn't wrap up well when tackling, so that needs to be worked on, but he has all the stuff to be a solid starter at the pro level. Because there are more polished corners ahead of him, Porter may fall to the early third round, but if a team takes a flier on him, they could end up smelling like roses in a couple years.
"Porter is bigger than Kelly Jennings, but not quite as quick and he's definitely not as far along as a football player at this respective point in their careers. Jennings isn't much of a tackler, but he's great in coverage. Porter is still working in this area, but he's got more upside because of his immense physical ability."
Scout.com's Ed Thompson caught up with Porter at the Senior Bowl.
Thompson: What are you going to be doing between the Senior Bowl and Combine to prepare for that?
Porter: Aside from being enrolled in 18 credit-hours and going to school, I'm also training at St. Vincent's Sporting Performance in Indianapolis.
Thompson: What is it you want teams to know about you as a person?
Porter: First off, that I'm all about finishing what I start. They say most guys, by now, have either dropped out or are taking online courses. For one, I'm still enrolled, still going to classes on campus each and every day. So right off the bat they should know that I'm always going to finish everything that I start. Another thing they should know is that I'm a coachable kid and there's nothing in my background history, no arrests or anything. Another thing is I'm all about winning. But at the same time I want to have fun when I win. I know it's a business and you have to take things seriously, but at the same time it's football so you should relax and have fun and the wins will come.
Thompson: With you going to school in Indiana, would the Colts be a team that you think would be a lot of fun to play for?
Porter: Any team in the National Football League would be a good team to play for, but the Colts, they have a winning history with coach Tony Dungy and those guys. He does a great job in preparing his players. But any team in the National Football League that calls my name on draft day, I'll be more than happy to play for them.
Thompson: Who are some of the teams you've talked to already?
Porter: The Seahawks, the Vikings. I talked to the Broncos, Green Bay Packers, the Saints in my hometown. The Jets ... I've talked to quite a few teams.
Thompson: Is it really settling in that your dream of playing in the NFL is really going to happen now that you're here in Mobile?
Porter: It's like a dream come true for me. I'm sitting here --who would expect a kid with two years of high school football, thinking he was a basketball player, would be sitting at the Senior Bowl talking to an NFL team and auditioning for potential employment with those guys? It's all a dream come true and it's all a fun experience for me.
Thompson: Is there anything you'd like to say to the Indiana fans who will be watching you play on Saturday?
Porter: For one thing, it's all about putting Indiana football back on the map. I definitely think, as a team, that we've done it. And individually, by me coming to the Senior Bowl, putting Indiana football back on the map is something huge that we've wanted to do for a long time. We made it to our bowl game, we're excited about that, and here I am. I told the guys on NFL Network today when they were watching me stretch, that there are in fact football players in Indiana. The Hoosiers are back on the map, and just like every Hoosier says at the end of what they're saying ... Go Hoosiers!