The Legion of Boom star Huard sees in Seahawks’ Devon Witherspoon

Jun 15, 2023, 12:18 PM

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)

With the fifth pick of this year’s NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks surprised many by passing on Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter for Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon.

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Witherspoon, an All-American for the Fighting Illini, is now competing for playing time in a deep Seahawks cornerback room.

Seattle has one of its best secondaries on paper in years, and naturally, that unit will be compared to the Legion of Boom defense that helped lead the Seahawks to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title a decade ago.

Former NFL quarterback Brock Huard sees a bit of a top Legion of Boom defender in Witherspoon, as he explained during Thursday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports.

Earl Thomas,” he said.

Thomas, the 14th overall pick in 2010, was a star at free safety for Seattle, emerging as one of the NFL’s top ball-hawking defenders while manning the back of the Seahawks’ defense.

Huard said he thinks of Thomas “every time I hear somebody, especially a national voice talk about Witherspoon.

That includes Bruce Feldman, a college football reporter for The Athletic and FOX Sports who joined Brock and Salk on Wednesday and shared some insight into Witherspoon and how he was viewed in the college football world.

“He said the same thing we’ve heard 100 times, and that is the dude is absolutely violent. He will knock your block off,” Huard relayed.

Here’s what Feldman said:

When I did a story for The Athletic where I talked to a lot of coaches who had faced each of the top 50 (draft prospects), coaches raved about Devon Witherspoon more than they did (No. 17 overall pick) Christian Gonzalez, more than they did any of these other bigger corners. And it was funny, one of the guys I talked to who was a Big Ten assistant talked about (Witherspoon) like he was Patrick Peterson’s size. Probably a week after I had gotten back from the combine, I was like, ‘You know, he only measured in at like 5-11 and change and 180-something.’ And he was like, ‘Really? That’s it? That guy is an animal.’ And just the respect that people had for him and how he plays (really stood out).

Huard said the Detroit Lions, who were slated to pick sixth right behind the Seahawks, were “ticked” when Seattle took Witherspoon because they liked that he has such a violent and physical nature on the field.

“He’s a real violent dude,” Huard said. “And then the question is, ‘Yeah, well, he’s 5 foot 11, 183 (pounds). Can he sustain?’ And what was said about Earl Thomas when he came out? ‘Violent dude. I mean, does not stop, runs through people.’ And then what was the next follow up? ‘Yeah, but he’s like 5-11, 190. Can he sustain? Is that going to hold up? The body’s not gonna hold up.’ And what did he do? He largely held up until he tore his labrum in the (2014) NFC Championship Game and then kind of went down from there, years and years later.

“So that is the name, every time I hear Devon Witherspoon, that just continually comes to mind about size and just the ferocity with which they play and whether or not it’s sustainable. (The Seahawks) made it work with Earl. Let’s hope they can make it with work with Devon.”

Listen to Huard’s full thoughts on Witherspoon in Blue 88, the final segment of the podcast below. Blue 88, where Huard answers three football questions, airs at 7:45 a.m. daily during Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

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