Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but you get the idea.
The San Francisco 49ers drafted cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Witherspoon comes out of Colorado and boasts impressive size, fantastic versatility and a college career that included 71 tackles and three interceptions.
Witherspoon joined a group of defensive backs that have both exceeded and fallen short of expectations in recent years. I’d describe the 49ers’ cornerbacks over the past five or six years as “scrappy” at the very least. They always seem to do better than any expect out of such a group, but that’s been catching up with the 49ers over the past season or so.
They need size. They need someone who can do it all. Witherspoon fits that bill, and represented a good value in the third round. He has earned snaps with the starting defense in the limited practices that have taken place thus far. But he has to share those snaps with Keith Reaser, K’Waun Williams, Dontae Johnson and Rashard Robinson.
Williams and Robinson have missed time with injuries, leading to more time for Witherspoon. By all accounts he’s had a good offseason thus far, and things are looking up.
Weight: 198 lbs
Witherspoon is a rookie, and signed a four year, $3.89 million contract. His cap hit will be under $1 million for this season and next, and he’s under contract through the 2020 season.
What to expect in 2017
Witherspoon getting time with the starters in the limited practices thus far is a good sign. Smart money is on Robinson getting one of the starting spots on the outside. Williams is more likely to be a nickel corner, and that leaves Reaser, Johnson and Witherspoon competing for the other spot.
Personally, I like Johnson and think he’s been misused in the past. But I think Witherspoon does a lot of things that he does, and better. If Witherspoon can pick up the defense enough to satisfy the coaching staff, then I expect he will win the starting job.
But even if he doesn’t, I expect he’ll see the field as the fourth man on.
Odds of making the roster
He’s a rookie with a high ceiling and a lot of promise. He’s not costing much and as far as I can tell, he’s got a good head on his shoulders. Obviously, he’ll make the roster whether he’s named a starter or not. It’s not entirely unheard of for a third-round pick to fail to make the roster but let’s be honest ... he’ll make the roster.