Seahawks 1st round, pick 5: CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
It's almost sacrilege. Pete Carroll pulled the trigger on a cornerback of middling size early in the first round? Under his regime, the Seahawks have become legendary for taking long, lanky cornerbacks late in the draft and molding them into zone coverage mavens. What on Earth did they need to do this for?
Well, as it turns out, sometimes it doesn't matter if a player doesn't necessarily fit the mold of a specific defense, even one as ballyhooed and imitated as Pete Carroll's legendary 4-3 under cover 3, because the player in question is really freaking good.
Devon Witherspoon is really freaking good.
He plays with as much anticipation and instinct as anyone in the nation. He's lightning-quick in every sense of the phrase. He's a menace in man coverage and can blanket a no. 1 receiver at all five receiver positions. When asked about him, Carroll compared Witherspoon to Troy Polamalu, which is just about the highest praise you can possibly give any defender.
Adding onto that, do you remember the last time Seattle drafted a defensive back that was a little undersized in the first round? Yeah, if you're not getting Earl Thomas vibes from this pick, you should be.
Lastly, with Witherspoon in tow, that gives the Seahawks a projected starting secondary of Tariq Woolen, Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams, Julian Love, and Devon Witherspoon. Now tell me, where's the hole in this group? What route do you throw that's going to pull these guys apart? I'm not sure there is one, short of George Kittle going absolutely beast mode on a crosser over the middle with play action to suck Bobby Wagner down into the box as much as possible.
Witherspoon is a franchise cornerstone, and virtually guarantees that the Seahawks will be as tough to throw on as any team in football for both the short- and long-term future.