'We Love Him': Seattle Seahawks Coaches, Teammates Gravitating to Devon Witherspoon's Energy

After being the fifth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon is making a huge impression on the organization.
Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) is tackled by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon (21) during the fourth quarter at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Jan. 7, 2024.
Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) is tackled by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon (21) during the fourth quarter at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Jan. 7, 2024. / Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY
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When the Seattle Seahawks traded quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, they acquired a wealth of draft capital. One of those picks was in the top five of the 2023 NFL Draft and the Seahawks seem to have hit gold on it when they selected Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon.

Throughout his rookie season, Witherspoon showed flashes of elite level cornerback play. During his college days, Witherspoon was well known for being an aggressive, press-man cornerback and he thrived in those situation. He didn't just play well, he graded off the charts for a rookie.

Pro Football Focus had Witherspoon with an astounding 84.1 overall grade and a 79.9 grade in coverage, including 10 pass breakups and one interception. What has stood out to new head coach Mike Macdonald is how smart Witherspoon is.

"It's great. I told him (Devon Witherspoon) today I couldn't believe he was the smartest football player of all time and it's only his second year in the NFL. He's got an answer for everything. No, hey, be yourself. That's who he is. We love him. He's a great player already in this league. We're really excited about him. Again, all those guys are great, man. Energy is right where we want it."

Seahawks HC Mike Macdonald

Intelligence is an underrated element of playing cornerback. You need to understand so many things about your opponent when playing the position, including what your opponent likes to do in certain situations both in terms of play calling and how wide receivers like to run their routes, especially for players like Witherspoon who play both boundary and slot cornerback.

It's not just important for the play on the field, but also off of it as it can be a big element of leadership.

"Absolutely, yeah. We talked about it the other day as a team. We got to be a player-led team. Championship teams, coaches can only take the guys so far. Doesn't matter. You can lead from whatever your role is. Devon has a unique role that's specific to him, which we're like Uchenna's role would be a little bit different than his role, more vocal with the guys. We want to start in the roles you're in, let's rock and roll. Yeah, the energy is pretty great."

Seahawks HC Mike Macdonald

How Macdonald frames leadership is both interesting and important. Not everyone is the same kind of leader and it's more important that you lead in the way that works for you rather than try to put yourself in a different role that isn't for you. The Seahawks prioritizing diversity with their leadership is important.

With teammates already deferring to him on the practice field due to his infectious energy and passion for the game, Witherspoon is going to be a huge part of the Seahawks' future and will be a leader for the team hopefully for years down the line.


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Tyler Forness

TYLER FORNESS