The 2023 NFL draft has concluded, and two hundred fifty-nine selections were made across all 32 teams. Seattle made ten selections and left some in the league confused after their picks. Nonetheless, the Seahawks appear to have improved immensely on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, Seattle gave Geno Smith more weapons. In the first round, the team chose Jaxon Smith-Njigba and in the second round Seattle got running back Zach Charbonnet. Both players should be immediate contributors.
Defensively, the Seahawks added a couple of defensive linemen and got a potentially high-end edge rusher. Of course, it goes without saying that Seattle chose cornerback Devon Witherspoon with pick number 5. Witherspoon should help form a shutdown duo along with second-year CB Tariq Woolen. But let's look at every draft pick Seattle had.
Seattle Seahawks get better in 2023 and beyond by taking another great draft class
1st round, 5th overall pick - Devon Witherspoon, Cornerback, Illinois
The selection of Witherspoon left a lot of draft “experts” stunned. It was widely believed the Seahawks would go defensive line in the first round, so passing on Jalen Carter for Devon Witherspoon surprised most of the NFL. However, it was rumored the Seahawks had an eye fixated on Witherspoon before the draft, and picking at five the Illinois corner confirms John Schneider’s belief was legitimate.
As a zero-star recruit out of high school, Witherspoon worked his way from junior college to the number 1 corner at Illinois. John Schneider and Pete Carroll admire anyone with a preconceived chip on their shoulder, and Witherspoon is the perfect fit. With the addition of Witherspoon through the draft, Seattle could have one of the top young secondaries in all of football.
Witherspoon is presumably Seattle’s second starting corner alongside Tariq Woolen. Suppose the development of Witherspoon is somewhat similar to the development of Woolen. In that case, the Seahawks will possibly have the best secondary in the NFL before most people realize it.
Devon Witherspoon is best used in press man-coverage, where he can get his hands on receivers. He also tightly contests catches downfield. Witherspoon is intuitive and fast to the football. He relies on his ability and trusts what he’s seen on game tape, but he does get beat to jump balls occasionally. He also is a solid tackler who is more than willing to hit someone at full speed. With his physicality and ball skills, it’s easy to see why Witherspoon is the perfect fit for the Seahawk's secondary, even if he doesn't fit the usual “big corner” label.