Huard: 3 adjustments top Seahawks pick Devon Witherspoon faces

May 22, 2023, 11:21 AM

Seattle Seahawks Devon Witherspoon...

Devon Witherspoon poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at the NFL Draft. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks begin voluntary OTAs (Organized Training Activities) on Monday, giving their 2023 NFL Draft class their first chance to compete against the veterans on the roster.

That means the rookies are about to learn what kind of adjustments they’ll need to make as they move on from starring roles in college to the much different pro game.

Why the Seattle Seahawks think “something special” is happening again

On Monday’s edition of Brock and Salk, former NFL quarterback and current FOX college football analyst Brock Huard put the top three Seahawks draft picks under the microscope and detailed what he thinks the three biggest adjustments will be for each of them as they begin to lead head coach Pete Carroll’s system.

First up: cornerback Devon Witherspoon, who the Seattle Seahawks drafted with the No. 5 overall pick out of Illinois. Here’s what Huard said will be the three biggest adjustments he needs to make.

Adjustments for Seattle Seahawks CB Devon Witherspoon

1. Get the fundamentals down.

“For Devon, I’m most curious just about the fundamentals – the fundamental things that Pete Carroll believes in. (Carroll) said during draft day, ‘Gosh, you know, he reminds me of Troy Polamalu,’ and Troy Polamalu had to take his incredible athleticism, incredible talent and feel, and then play within the scheme of what Pete wants. Devon Witherspoon is going to have to do the same. He’s got great instinct, but we know fundamentally there are just some ‘have-tos’ in Pete Carroll’s system. So just the footwork, the hand placement, all of those things, that’s No. 1.”

2. Handle being targeted even when he has his man covered.

“This will be the first time in Devon Witherspoon’s life where he’s going to cover someone but he’s not going to be covered. He’s going to be all over that route, and when he was all over it in high school and in college, guess what? The ball did not come his way, it went the other way. He’s going to be all over these guys and the ball is still going to come to DK Metcalf, and what is that going to be like? ‘Hold on a second – why are they throwing? I’ve got that covered, I’m on him, I’m on his hip.’ Nope. And that ball is zip, right behind my ear, and that’s a back shoulder and I’m on him and somehow DK still shields me with this enormous frame to just create enough inches of space to get that ball in. That will be a big adjustment.”

3. The “secret sauce”

“Lastly is just the, ‘We know, hey, here’s our Cover 3, here’s our man.’ But it’s the secret sauce, it’s the devil in the details, it’s the little nuance, studying tendencies. It’s all of the things that Pete demands of that position, that secondary, maybe more than any other position group on this team.”

Listen to Huard’s full breakdown of Witherspoon as well as the Seattle Seahawks’ two second-round picks in the podcast of the Blue 88 segment below. Huard answers three football questions daily during Blue 88, which airs live at 7:45 a.m. on each edition of Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports.

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Huard: 3 adjustments top Seahawks pick Devon Witherspoon faces