The Seattle Seahawks have done some experimenting at the cornerback position throughout OTAs and minicamp, partially driven by injuries to key players. One of the offseason wrinkles has involved their number one draft choice, Devon Witherspoon.
Slot corner Coby Bryant has been sidelined with a foot sprain (but nothing to suggest he’ll miss the start of training camp), which has paved the way for Witherspoon to shift from his standard outside corner position to some inside work. You probably already saw some of that in this brief clip with him and fellow first-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Here’s what Pete Carroll had to say about the experience (via The News Tribune):
“He’s capable of playing in there,” Carroll said.
“I talked to him about it way back when, and he was all excited: ‘I can learn it all. I can get it.’ He was really positive about it, so when we gave him the chance he jumped right on it.
“He is a really good football player. He gets it, man. It makes sense to him, and he does things naturally very well. That expedites the process (of learning inside). So, we’ll see. This will be a really good film today again to check him out.
“But we’ve seen him pretty much in charge of the position. So, we’ll see how it goes.”
For Witherspoon, he did get to play occasionally in the slot while at Illinois, albeit with the main purpose of traveling with the opposition’s primary receiver and not lining up there by design against anybody. Here’s Devon’s take on his practice sessions:
“It’s been very cool. It’s an unreal feeling, just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Witherspoon said of his first Seattle practices. “I just try to take it all in coming out here with the guys.
“I’m just coming in here to compete, represent the Seahawks, and just have that Seahawk on my helmet. There’s a lot that plays into it. But it’s a feeling that you can’t describe.”
Versatility. That’s what Pete Carroll likes in his secondary and what the Seahawks may be looking at with their current depth chart. Bryant was an outside corner in college but played the slot as a rookie in Seattle, and Witherspoon will definitely be on the outside but has the ability to play slot. Tariq Woolen obviously stays on the outside but it sure as hell has already been proven that it’s not easy to throw against him. Don’t forget about Michael Jackson Sr, whom Carroll has praised as having the best camp out of anyone, and then there’s Tre Brown entering his first actual healthy season of his brief career.
Exciting times ahead at the cornerback position for the Seahawks after the dissolution of the Legion of Boom.