The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up the 2017 season and have begun their work to prepare for 2018 free agency and the draft. We’ll be breaking down plenty of what that means, but in the meantime, we wanted to take a look back at the season that was for the 49ers. Jimmy Garoppolo captured our imagination, but the 49ers rebuilding process was extensive last year. We are going to take a look at every notable addition and provide a forum for grading how that signing, trade, or draft pick worked out.
Ahkello Witherspoon, cornerback
How acquired: Drafted in the third round (66th overall)
Witherspoon was drafted to be a developmental cornerback, who many saw in the preseason as a player who wasn’t likely to see the field in 2017. He was raw, but there was a lot of natural instinct and ability there.
One big knock was that he wasn’t a great tackler, but by the time he was pressed into action in the regular season, I thought he tackled fine. I can recall one or two missed tackles or bad angles, but by and large, Witherspoon was a cover corner who did his job well.
Due to injuries and struggles at the position, Witherspoon saw the field and wound up playing on 660 defensive snaps, or 58.67 percent of them. He also participated in 111 (23.92 percent) special teams snaps. Only Dontae Johnson played more at cornerback, and he was terrible for most of the season. Witherspoon finished with 32 total tackles, seven passes defensed, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
He graded out well, and deserves to be a starting cornerback going into training camp. But the position is still a huge need. Witherspoon is no guarantee as a starter, let alone a No. 1 corner. But this draft pick seems to have been a good one.
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How do you grade 49ers NFL Draft addition Ahkello Witherspoon?
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