Devon Witherspoon: Why going to Seahawks at No. 5 ‘means a lot’

May 2, 2023, 1:53 PM

Seattle Seahawks Devon Witherspoon...

Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon breaks up a pass intended for Iowa's Arland Bruce IV in 2022. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Despite an offseason full of speculation that the Seattle Seahawks would select a quarterback or defensive lineman at No. 5 overall, the Hawks surprised many by taking standout Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon with the fifth pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Rost: Where the Seattle Seahawks stand after adding big 2023 draft class

Witherspoon, a consensus All-American and the Big Ten’s defensive back of the year in 2022, was expected to go early in this year’s draft – with reports surfacing after the fact that Detroit wanted to take him at No. 6 overall – and he now projects to start opposite Tariq Woolen, who was a Pro Bowler as a rookie in 2022 while picking off six passes, tied for the NFL lead.

So what does Witherspoon think about joining the Seahawks? Here’s what he told Mike Salk during Monday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports.

First off, did Witherspoon think he was going to be drafted by Seattle?

“I knew it was in play, but I didn’t know if they were going to pull the trigger on it,” Witherspoon. “It was kind of surprising.”

What about being the fifth overall pick?

“It means a lot to me just knowing that the expectation for me is going to be high, so I’ve got to come in and work, just come in and compete and play physical and just learn from the veterans,” Witherspoon said.

One of those veterans Witherspoon will certainly be learning a lot from is star wide receiver DK Metcalf, who is entering his fifth NFL season.

Witherspoon and fellow first-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba met Metcalf the day after being picked.

“He’s big. That’s a big dude, no cap,” Witherspoon said of meeting Metcalf. “He’s a great person, though … I get a chance to go against him every day at practice, so he’s going to make you better.”

Part of Witherspoon’s game is being a big hitter and a great tackler, which isn’t always something that immediately comes up when discussing cornerback prospects. Where did that element of his game come from?

“I mean, that has always been who I am,” he said. “And just playing in the Big Ten, you’ve got to want to tackle because in this conference, they’re going to run the football, so they’re going to put the corner in the run game and you’ve got to want to tackle. So I think the conference really helped bring that out of me, but it’s always been in me since I was a kid.”

Listen to the full Brock and Salk discussion with Witerspoon in the podcast below.

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