With the calendar flipping to July and offseason programs recently wrapping up, NFL training camps will begin around the league in less than a month. To celebrate the new incoming season, we will be breaking down the Seahawks' 90-man roster over the next several weeks, exploring best and worst case scenarios and what to expect from each player entering the 2021 campaign.
Ahkello Witherspoon, Cornerback
Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 195 pounds
2020 Stats: 20 tackles, one interception, four passes defensed in 11 games
Selected in the third round back in 2017, the 49ers had lofty expectations for Witherspoon, expecting him to become a potential long-term starter at cornerback. But while the ex-Colorado standout played well in brief spurts during four seasons in San Francisco, injuries and inconsistent play hindered his development. After being a healthy scratch the first four games of his rookie year, a knee injury cost him the final two games of the 2018 season and a foot injury cost him six games in 2019. Hamstring problems cost him time in 2020 as well and even when healthy, he bounced in and out of the starting lineup, losing his job on numerous occasions. In 47 career games with the Niners, he registered 117 tackles, four interceptions, and 24 passes defensed. Despite his up-and-down play, the Seahawks were high on Witherspoon in the pre-draft process and given his ideal size and length and the fact he's still only 26 years old, the team took a flier on him with a one-year "prove it" deal in free agency in March.
Best Case Scenario: Finally putting everything together and playing with great confidence, Witherspoon wins a starting job out of camp and sets career-highs in tackles, interceptions, and passes defensed, emerging as an unexpected Pro Bowl selection for one of the NFL's most improved defenses.
Worst Case Scenario: Proving the 49ers right for letting him walk, Witherspoon slowly falls down the depth chart due to a lackluster preseason in favor of veteran Pierre Desir and rookie Tre Brown. While he still makes the team, he primarily plays a reserve role and on special teams and the team doesn't re-sign him next spring.
What to Expect in 2021: Joining the team he idolized while playing at Colorado, Witherspoon believes he will thrive in a Cover 3-heavy scheme catered well to his strengths. Early indications out of OTAs and minicamp suggest he will be the front runner to start on the left side, but he will have to earn that job in camp in what should be Seattle's fiercest positional battle in August. If he's able to avoid the minor injuries that dogged him over the past three years in San Francisco and shows a penchant for getting his hands on the football, he should be the favorite to start in Week 1 against Indianapolis and it's not out of the question he could be an unexpected upgrade over departed starter Shaquill Griffin. On the other hand, if consistency continues to evade him and past tackling issues resurface, he may not even be in the starting lineup. He will truly be one of the biggest wild cards for the Seahawks heading into the season.
Previous Seahawks 90-Man Roster Primers
Alex McGough | Darvin Kidsy | Greg Eiland | Joshua Moon | Cam Sutton | Walter Palmore | Jared Hocker | Brad Lundblade | Aashari Crosswell | Myles Adams | Jon Rhattigan | Aaron Fuller | Bryan Mills I Jake Curhan | Jarrod Hewitt | Connor Wedington | Nate Evans | Danny Etling | John Ursua | Gavin Heslop | Pier-Oliver Lestage | Tamorrion Terry | Tommy Champion | Cody Thompson | Josh Johnson | Saivion Smith | Jordan Miller | Aaron Donkor | Robert Nkemdiche | Alex Collins | Tyler Mabry | Damarious Randall | Cade Johnson | Cedrick Lattimore | Phil Haynes | Geno Smith | Kyle Fuller | Travis Homer | Tyler Ott | Rasheem Green | Ben Burr-Kirven | Penny Hart | Jamarco Jones | Aldon Smith | DeeJay Dallas | Nick Bellore | Stone Forsythe | Colby Parkinson | Al Woods | Cedric Ogbuehi | Alton Robinson | Jordan Simmons | Pierre Desir | Ryan Neal | Tre Flowers | Michael Dickson | Jason Myers | Freddie Swain | Cody Barton | Bryan Mone | Benson Mayowa | Rashaad Penny | Ugo Amadi | Ethan Pocic | Tre Brown | Darrell Taylor | Will Dissly