Seahawks Draft Reaction: Huard, Wyman on CB Devon Witherspoon
Apr 27, 2023, 6:29 PM | Updated: Apr 29, 2023, 3:58 pm
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
With the fifth pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select … a cornerback?
Yes, that’s what happened, with the Hawks opting for Illinois star cornerback Devon Witherspoon with the highest pick of the Pete Carroll-John Schneider era, which began way back in 2010.
Seattle Seahawks Draft Breakdown: A look at every 2023 NFL Draft pick
Not only is Witherspoon the highest pick the Hawks have made since before Carroll and Schneider came to town, it’s the first time they’ve taken a cornerback higher than 90th overall (that was Shaquill Griffin back in 2018).
So what did the voices of Seattle Sports have to say about the pick? Former NFL quarterback Brock Huard and linebacker Dave Wyman dove into Witherspoon with Bob Stelton after the pick was announced.
“Devon Weatherspoon is nasty,” Huard said. “He’s violent, he’s physical.”
Added Wyman, “He will hit you. I mean, you’ve got two bully corners out there.”
WHAT A HIT FROM DEVON WITHERSPOON 😳
cc: @IlliniFootball pic.twitter.com/P3CUMdLsMO
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 3, 2022
The other corner Wyman was referring to is Tariq Woolen, a 2022 fifth-round pick who was a Pro Bowler and tied the NFL lead in interceptions with six.
Taking Witherspoon also meant Seattle passing on Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, who many thought would be the pick given the Seahawks’ woes in the run game.
“Does that tell you that they value the idea of two ‘no-fly zones’ (at cornerback) over the potential red flags of a guy who talent-wise in Jalen Carter, who many said was the best player in the draft or the second-best player in the draft?” Stelton asked his colleagues.
“I think it tells you they could not find a trade partner,” Huard said.
According to multiple NFL insiders, the Seahawks were working the phones regarding the No. 5 pick but ultimately stayed and made the selection of Witherspoon.
It’s a pick that Huard thinks many will disagree with.
“I know that there’s going to be people that say ‘You don’t take a corner that high.’ I know it,” Huard said, mentioning his Brock and Salk co-host Mike Salk. “I’m sure there’s analytics people that will tell you that you need to focus on the line of scrimmage. But what did we celebrate in the heyday of the Seahawks so much? What did we celebrate? That they were willing to zig when others would zag.”
Huard pointed to the Legion of Boom defense the Seahawks used in the early and mid-2010s, which had bigger cornerbacks than other teams, led by All-Pro Richard Sherman. He noted that the Seahawks viewed that position differently than others during that time.
“For them to take a corner at No. 5 in this draft speaks to what they believe that young man is, (which) is a violent, physical dude that loves football,” he said.
Wyman said that even in the best days of the Legion of Boom, something that was always missing was another top-end corner opposite Sherman. The Hawks may now have that elite young tandem between Woolen and Witherspoon.
“I mean, look at you look at the physicality of this guy, he wants to hit people,” Wyman said.
Devon Witherspoon is bringing elite defensive talent to the Seattle Seahawks 😤 #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/s5JDpz0hum
— ESPN (@espn) April 28, 2023
2023 Seattle Seahawks draft picks
• First round (5th overall): Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon
• First round (20th overall): Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
• Second round (37th overall): Auburn edge Derick Hall
• Second round (52nd overall): UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet
• Fourth round (108th overall): LSU guard Anthony Bradford
• Fourth round (123rd overall): Mississippi State defensive tackle Cameron Young
• Fifth round (151st overall): Michigan edge Mike Morris
• Fifth round (15th overall): Michigan center Olusegun Oluwatimi
• Sixth round (198th overall): New Mexico safety Jerrick Reed II
• Seventh round (237th overall): Georgia RB Kenny McIntosh