Don't panic, 12s; the Seahawks will be fine without Devon Witherspoon, for now

The fifth-overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft is banged-up but doesn't appear to have a major injury.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks will be without the services of the best rookie defensive back in the 2023 draft. But it's just for the first preseason game, so there's no need to panic about Devon Witherspoon yet. Yeah, not yet, there isn't.

Let's get a few things out of the way, good 12s. I'm not a doctor, I don't play one on TV, not even on my YouTube channel (which I don't have, either). However, I am eminently qualified to read the news.

As such, I can pass on the information that budding superstar cornerback Devon Witherspoon is being held out of the first preseason game for the Seahawks. As reported by multiple sites, among them, Witherspoon has a hamstring injury. Yes, it's the same leg that Spoon hurt before the draft, but it's a different area.

Here's where it's problematic that I don't even drop TikToks as a doctor. I have no idea if it's better that it isn't the same area, as that could be a chronic weakness that would flare up repeatedly. Or if it's worse, in that there are possibly multiple areas for concern. Frankly, neither of those possibilities is exactly desirable. As quoted by Josh Alper in the cited article, Pete Carroll said the Seahawks don't believe it's a major injury, but they don't know how long Spoon will be out, either.

Devon Witherspoon is critical to making this Seahawks defense work

That's not exactly reassuring, right 12s? Yes, it's a good thing this happened in week one of the preseason rather than the regular. That goes without saying, but I said it anyway. Flame away.

Anyway, it's certainly cause for concern as Witherspoon had every appearance of playing a key role as the Seahawks' slot corner. I know, a lot of people are concerned that it's a waste of his talent, playing him to cover the slot, or nickel, or whatever terminology you use that denigrates the position. I prefer to think of the position - at least as Spoon will play it - as the Missile.

The way Devon Witherspoon can cover and the way he can hit, he'll redefine the position. I'm hardly the only person who thinks this is a great fit for the Seahawks. As Brandon Gustafson reported for Seattle Sports, NFL analyst Mark Schlereth agrees that Spoon is the right man for the job. He said that in general, it's the most difficult position on defense. As for Witherspoon specifically, Schlereth said, "All of a sudden we got a little cat that’s 185 pounds and isn’t afraid to hit people and has great instincts in run support stuff and can cover man? What a find that is.”

So where does that leave Seattle if their first-round pick can't go? Not in a great position. The Hawks have already experimented with Coby Bryant at safety, and he seems to be adjusting well there. He was decent playing slot last year, but decent doesn't win titles. Spoon is the kind of player that can change an entire defense, much like Jamal Adams did when used correctly.

I can't help but draw a parallel between Adams and Witherspoon. Of course, Adams' injury definitely ended his season, while Witherspoon may be fine to play in the second preseason game, It's more likely he's going to miss quite a bit of practice, though, to protect him as much as they can.

The Seahawks will handle this correctly, of course. And they have about 87 other cornerbacks on the roster. The problem is, none of them can play like Spoon, at least not that we've seen. So no, it's not time to panic, not yet. But keep that red button ready, 12s. It's going to be a tense few weeks.

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