The San Francisco 49ers traded cornerback Rashard Robinson due to his struggles and because they had a replacement they felt good about in Ahkello Witherspoon. I’m definitely surprised it happened so quickly and with so little time spent in the lineup for Witherspoon, but he did play particularly well against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Well enough for the folks over at Pro Football Focus to name him to their NFL Team of the Week for Week 8. They gave Witherspoon an 88.1 overall grade, and have him as allowing three receptions on eight targets. Of course, one of those receptions was a 53-yard catch by Alshon Jeffery, but he looked good beyond that.
They’re cheating a little in that they don’t pick a nickel cornerback for their third corner, they simply pick the third-best (or close to it) cornerback from the week, and that’s Witherspoon. He was graded lower than Jimmy Smith of the Baltimore Ravens (92.0) and Desmond King of the Los Angeles Chargers (90.5).
“Despite being beaten for one big, 53-yard play against Alshon Jeffery, Witherspoon had an excellent day overall, and made up for that with an impressive interception and some very close coverage the rest of the game,” PFF writes.
Withspoon is a player I didn’t expected to see until much further down the stretch, similarly to C.J. Beathard ... who is also already playing. It’s clear Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch aren’t content to sit and let the 49ers lose games without trying to make some kind of change. Witherspoon was always going to be part of the 49ers’ future, he’s just playing sooner than most expected
I’m excited to see what he can do as a starter going forward. I’d rather see him sink or swim at this point. And hopefully the 49ers give him some safety help over the top on the deeper plays — provided there are any safeties left at this point.