The San Francisco 49ers are bringing in Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie for a pre-draft visit, and that appears to follow a visit with a teammate. Buffaloes cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon was in Santa Clara earlier this week, posting this picture to his Instagram account (via Rob Lowder).
Witherspoon is a particularly intriguing prospect. CBS Sports projects him as a potential day two pick, but he’s got a set of tools and physical traits that project really well. He stands 6’3, 198 pounds and ran a 4.45 40. His 33 inch arms combined with a Combine high 40.5 inch vertical allow him to make plays even when his receiver might have him beat.
Witherspoon only played one year of high school football and then attended junior college as a freshman. He moved on to Colorado in 2014, but really became an impact player this past season. Per Pro Football Focus, in 2014, he gave up a 65 percent catch percentage, and a QB rating against of 147.9. In 2015, he gave up a 61.7 percent catch percentage, and a QB rating against of 92.8, with four pass deflections. Finally, this past year he gave up a 31.8 percent catch percentage, and a QB rating against of 50.9 while deflecting 13 passes.
He’s an improving product that needs to add more physicality to his game. There are questions about his aggressiveness, but with limited experience behind him, one hopes he could be molded into an intriguing press corner for the 49ers. Here’s what PFF had to say about him in their scouting report:
He isn’t winning with strength/physicality yet but when that element gets added to his game he can become an even better press corner. His range and length also make him effective in off coverage. Witherspoon is an outside press corner with impressive measurables, explosive athleticism and high football IQ. Witherspoon is a starting cornerback in the NFL who will likely get pushed down in the draft a bit due to the depth of the cornerback class this year.
Here’s what NFL.com had to say:
Possesses a rare combination of size and speed and saw his ball production take a substantial leap this season. Witherspoon played just one season of high school football so his technique and route awareness should continue to improve. Witherspoon's length and his ability to mirror and match in space should launch him into early playing time, but his unwillingness to tackle and hit will be a complete turn-off for some teams.