Grading the selection by the Seattle Seahawks of former Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon with the fifth pick in the 2023 NFL draft.
The Seattle Seahawks had talked about taking a quarterback in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft, but instead of taking Will Levis out of Kentucky, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks went back to their Legion of Boom roots with the selection of Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon.
Devon Witherspoon is a 6-foot, 170-pound corner and while some Seahawks fans might be a little surprised by this pick — I don’t know how many people saw Witherspoon being a top-five selection — this is a really good fit.
Here’s our grade of Devon Witherspoon to the Seattle Seahawks, who landed the best cornerback in the 2023 NFL draft.
Grading Devon Witherspoon selection in the 2023 NFL draft by Seahawks
When the Seahawks were playing in Super Bowls, they had an elite secondary. We can all remember that and it seems like Pete Carroll wants to rebuild that.
Witherspoon is a great start. He was dominating last season at Illinois and he’s one of the best press cornerbacks to come into the NFL draft in a long time in my opinion. He’s big and physical, for a cornerback, but also has incredible skills covering the ball.
Witherspoon had 14 pass breakups last season. During his career, the 5th overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft had 25 overall, and 23 of those came in the past two seasons.
The standout DB for the Fighting Illini has five career interceptions, 11.5 tackles for loss, and a total of 157 career tackles.
I’m sure the Seahawks would have enjoyed taking Anthony Richardson and letting him develop behind Geno Smith. Instead, Seattle is hoping it landed the NFL’s next elite cover corner.
Still, I’d rather have a big guy like Jalen Carter that early in the first round, and while I love the pick, it seems like a bit of a reach to me.