Devon Witherspoon gets completely disrespected by Pro Football Focus

Witherspoon deserved to be treated better by PFF.
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Seattle Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon was a top-five pick in the 2023 NFL draft, made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, had 3 sacks and a 97-yard pick six, and is only 23 years old. That is important to point out because those numbers are seemingly not good enough for Pro Football Focus. The eponymous NFL site simply doesn't see Witherspoon as overly great.

That is based on PFF's recent article ranking the top 25 players under the age of 25 years old. Among the group is cornerback Sauce Gardner of the New York Jets who is entering his third season. Gardner is an excellent player, but PFF thinks he is the second-best player under 25 in the NFL. Three other cornerbacks made the list too. None of them named Devon Witherspoon.

Much of the rankings are based on the grades that PFF hands out. This makes sense, of course. They came up with the list so why would they base the rankings on something ESPN came up with? The issue is leaving Witherspoon off completely when PFF graded the Seahawks rookie as the sixth-best cornerback in the league in 2023.

Pro Football Focus disses Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon

Of the four cornerbacks on PFF's top 25 under 25, only two graded better than Witherspoon last year, Gardner and Trent McDuffie of the Kansas City Chiefs. The other two, Pat Surtain II of the Denver Broncos and Derek Stingley, Jr. of the Houston Texans, graded at numbers 42 and 9, respectively. In other words, PFF apparently does not trust its own grades to rank Surtain higher than Witherspoon.

Surtain is an excellent player and his grade was too low, most likely. There is no argument that the Broncos corner is not a good player, but so is Witherspoon. Based on PFF's own grades from 2023, Witherspoon is better. So why doesn't he show up on the best 25 under 25?

The can be no excuse that Witherspoon was only a rookie last year as well. Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud is on the list at number 7. Los Angeles Rams receiver Puka Nacua is entering his second season and is ranked 12. Nacua is a great player but was probably more productive because of the system he had in LA.

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Last year, Witherspoon had 16 passes defended, 79 tackles, 8 tackles for loss (compare that to Surtain who has 3 tackles for loss in his three-year career), and allowed just 5.4 yards per target (Surtain has never had a number that low). He was very good. He will be great in the future.

This is the good part for Witherspoon. He will get his chance to show Pro Football Focus was wrong and he should be in a better system under new Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald. Witherspoon will also be 24 years old next offseason. Let's hope PFF does the right thing and has Witherspoon on next offseason's list. He deserves it and PFF was just wrong in 2024.

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