Kyle’s update, 10:44 a.m.: Witherspoon was traded for a 2023 fifth-round pick. So, for pennies. I wish him luck, but that’s giving him away.
It has been a rollercoaster of a career for former 49ers' third-round pick Ahkello Witherspoon. Unfortuantely for him, the highs have been few and far between as of late.
Witherspoon ended the 2020 season on a high note with San Francisco. But, unfortunately, his play was not enough to convince the Niners to bring him back over the likes of Emmanuel Moseley. Instead, the 49ers drafted two cornerbacks on Day 3 instead of re-signing Witherspoon — who ended up signing a one-year, $4 million contract with the Seahawks.
Ahkello was confident in his abilities during OTAs:
“When I was healthy, I was the best corner in the league. I’m not going to settle for anything else. When I got injured, I had two bad injuries that no one really knows about or cares bout and it’s not my place to make people care, but you go out there and you fight and you push through.
If you’re not at the best of your ability in this league and you’re not healthy, it’s difficult to stay at that level that it takes to be an All-Pro, that it takes to be a Pro Bowler. I’m just extremely excited to be healthy and clear-minded in a new environment, and I’m excited to put that on tape. I mean, it doesn’t matter. I’m here now and I’m healthy.”
It would appear that Seattle disagrees:
Ahkello Witherspoon was graded as the NFL's 5th-best CB last season by @PFF, the 4th-best in coverage https://t.co/YSQ4cCfFdZ— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) September 3, 2021
Witherspoon broke up a couple of passes during the preseason but was on the wrong end of a couple of big plays. I remember Jerry Jeudy getting the best of Witherspoon on one route.
Witherspoon wasn’t playing poorly. He wasn’t playing with the style that the Seahawks want. They ask their cornerbacks to be physical and use their hands. Despite his inspector gadget arms, that’s never been Ahkello’s game.
Some Seattle fans that I follow on Twitter talked about the possibility of trading Witherspoon earlier this week. Witherspoon was benched for former 49ers nickel cornerback D.J. Reed, who has played very well for the Seahawks. Who could have predicted that?
The Steelers need help at cornerback, as they’re asking a slot corner to play on the outside. However, Witherspoon will have another chance to play in the NFL as he’s likely to start on the other side of Joe Haden. Plus, Haden is in the final year of his contract.
I’m curious to see many opportunities Ahkello will get in this league based on his physical gifts. Will the third time be a charm?