Pro Football Focus (PFF) is something of an acquired taste, but I think we can all agree that we like when they say good things about the Seattle Seahawks.
Like they did on Wednesday, when they listed two Seahawks rookies among the top 15 highest-graded players (who are rookies) after Week 4.
One of them is super obvious given the fact that he had a coming out party on Monday Night Football, recorded the 2nd-longest interception return in team history, and was given the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award in recognition of his efforts.
The other one is, perhaps, a little bit harder to guess.
Let’s start with the easy one . . .
CB Devon Witherspoon
Seattle surprised a lot of people by using the 5th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft on a cornerback from Illinois, but the selection looks like a masterstroke after Devon Witherspoon recorded 7 tackles, 2 sacks, and a game-changing pick-6 against the New York Giants on Monday night.
Witherspoon missed Week 1 and then had a somewhat shaky outing in Week 2 (coverage grade of 52.1; overall score of 57.4), but he’s been on a fast ascent since then. Week 3 saw his coverage grade improve to 68.1 while his overall score jumped to 70.0. And then Week 4 happened . . . 85.1 coverage grade; 91.2 pass-rush grade; 90.9 overall grade. Mmm-mmm-mmm!
Through the first four weeks of the season, Witherspoon’s overall grade sits at 79.7 which puts him at No. 8 on PFF’s Top-15 list.
Here’s what PFF had to say about him jumping into the Top 10:
After his phenomenal performance on Monday night, Witherspoon catapulted his way into the top 10 as a late addition to this list. After missing Week 1, Witherspoon has made incremental improvements to his facet grading in every game and was the NFL’s highest-graded (90.9) defensive rookie this past week. The Seahawks corner has an interception and three pass breakups this season and has allowed a 61.6 passer rating on throws into his coverage.
Kudos, Mr. Witherspoon.
Now for the one that might have been a little bit harder to guess.
Note: Check out the Bonus Coverage for the complete list of Seahawks rookies and their PFF scores through Week 4.
. . .
RB Zach Charbonnet
The Seahawks using the second of their two 2nd-round picks on a running back rubbed some people the wrong way - especially after using the second of their two 2nd-round picks on a running back last year.
Through four games, Zach Charbonnet’s stats don’t really “jump off the page,” but they aren’t “bad” either . . .
21 carries for 104 yards (4.95 average), plus 4 receptions for 22 yards.
Raw output is only part of PFF’s equation though, and Zach’s overall score of 75.8 is good enough to land him on their list . . . at No. 15.
Coming out of UCLA, Charbonnet’s reputation as a bruiser with the ball in his hand was well known, and that’s a reputation he has lived up to this far into his NFL career. On Monday night, he forced three missed tackles on just five carries. He has also been great as a pass-blocker, as he has yet to allow a pressure and has put up an 85.2 pass-block grade that ranks sixth among all backs.
So there you have it . . . two of the NFL’s top 15 rookies play for Seattle.
For those who are curious, here’s the entire list:
- RB De’Von Achane (93.5)
- IDL Jalen Carter (92.2)
- WR Puka Nacua (89.5)
- WR Marvin Mims (84.2)
- OG Peter Skoronski (81.3)
- CB Christian Gonzalez (80.8)
- LB Ivan Pace Jr. (80.7)
- CB Devon Witherspoon (79.7)
- CB Brian Branch (79.6)
- WR Rashee Rice (79.0)
- TE Sam LaPorta (78.8)
- IDL Keeanu Benton (78.6)
- EDGE Will Anderson Jr. (76.7)
- OG Joe Tippman (76.6)
- RB Zach Charbonnet (75.8)
And, because this is a Seahawks site (and I have a little extra time), here are the overall scores for the rest of Seattle’s rookies:
- LS Chris Stoll: 75.5 (ST)
- CB Lance Boykin: 74.4 (ST) - also has 2 snaps on defense (60.0)
- IDL Cameron Young: 68.6
- WR Jake Bobo: 65.9
- EDGE Derick Hall: 63.8
- IDL Mike Morris: 63.4
- OT Raiqwon O’Neal: 62.0 (ST) - also has 4 snaps on offense (60.0)
- OG Ben Brown:61.5
- CB Kyu Blu Kelly: 58.3 (ST)
- OC Olusegun Oluwatimi: 56.9
- S Jerrick Reed: 56.6
- WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba: 50.3
- OG Anthony Bradford: 48.9
- LB Drake Thomas: 46.0 (ST) - also has 1 snap on defense (62.1)
- OG McClendon Curtis: N/A