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Devon Witherspoon Seahawks

Devon Witherspoon Will Provide Big Boost To Seahawks’ Secondary

  • Justin Melo
  • September 14, 2023
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Seattle Seahawks rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon is expected to make his regular-season debut in Week 2 against the Detroit Lions, according to multiple reports. Witherspoon was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice after missing Seattle’s Week 1 game with the Los Angeles Rams due to a hamstring injury. The Seahawks need Witherspoon to be an immediate contributor.

Seattle’s secondary struggled mightily in last Sunday’s shocking 30-13 defeat to their NFC West rival Rams. They currently rank 31st in passing defense after allowing Matthew Stafford to carve them up for 334 yards. It’s a lackluster figure, especially when considering the Rams were without No. 1 wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Withersoon’s absence led to an increase in playing time for sophomore cornerback Tre Brown. The former fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma played 61 snaps, which accounted for 75% of Seattle’s defensive plays. Brown struggled mightily. Brown was credited with allowing three receptions on four targets for 72 receiving yards, leading to a pass-coverage grade of 50.5, per Pro Football Focus. Rams receiver Tutu Atwell burned Brown for a 44-yard gain, which led to Brown allowing 24.0 yards per reception and 21 yards after the catch. Stafford enjoyed a passer rating of 116.7 when targeting an overwhelmed Brown in coverage.

The No. 5 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, Witherspoon should represent a massive upgrade over Brown on Seattle’s boundary opposite Riq Woolen, who was terrific versus the Rams. Witherspoon is an aggressive and physical cornerback with the man coverage skills and ball production necessary to thrive in Pete Carroll’s loaded defensive backfield.

Witherspoon is extremely competitive at the catch point, a trait that should serve him well as he transitions to professional football. Witherspoon quickly locates the football and plays through the hands of opposing receivers. The former Illinois standout is also an excellent tackler who rallies from depth on the perimeter to assist in run support.

Witherspoon will be challenged appropriately throughout his debut. The opposing Detroit Lions had 250 passing yards while upsetting the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1 after finishing the 2022 campaign as the league’s eighth-ranked (251.8/game) passing attack. Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson will attempt to test an inexperienced Witherspoon, who could even find himself lined up opposite Amon-Ra St. Brown on occasion. Witherspoon must prove capable of adapting on the fly.

Witherspoon may not be the only returning starter to the secondary. Superstar safety Jamal Adams practiced in a limited fashion, according to various reports. Getting both Witherspoon and Adams back this weekend would complete Seattle’s defense.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider drafted Witherspoon with a premium first-round selection to complete his secondary. Seattle missed Witherspoon greatly throughout their Week 1 defeat to the Rams. Upon his return, Witherspoon will be immediately tasked with transforming a defense that’s still licking its wounds.

Written By

Justin Melo