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NFL Honors: Devon Witherspoon gets surprisingly few Defensive Rookie of the Year votes

Another Seahawks rookie corner is unable to take home the DROY award.

Philadelphia Eagles v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Devon Witherspoon was clearly the best rookie cornerback in the NFL, but he wasn’t even in the top-3 in votes for AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.

At the NFL Honors ceremony, Houston Texans edge rusher Will Anderson Jr took home the award. The Texans also have the Offensive Rookie of the Year in quarterback C.J. Stroud, who was nearly the unanimous vote if not for two nods for Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua.

Anderson recorded seven sacks and an impressive 22 quarterback hits in 15 games played. He led all rookies in QB hits and was only behind YaYa Diaby for tackles for loss. The Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter was the runner-up, followed by the Rams’ Kobie Turner, who led the 2023 rookie class with nine sacks.

That leaves Devon Witherspoon in a surprise fourth-place finish, with a handful of first-place votes and a lot of third-place votes, but not enough cumulative points to move higher in the final tally.

As a reminder: NFL AP voters moved to ranked-choice voting similar to the NBA. A first-place vote is worth 5 points, second-place is 3 points, and third-place is a single point. There are 50 total voters, which means only about half of the ballots even had any sort of vote for Witherspoon.

Witherspoon had a pick-6, three sacks, nine tackles for loss, and 16 passes defensed (tied with the Chicago Bears’ Tyrique Stevenson for the top spot among rookies). He was one of the few bright spots on the Seahawks defense and it’s a bit disappointing to see him not finish higher than he actually did.

Last season, Riq Woolen was in a somewhat similar spot, coming in third behind winner Sauce Gardner and runner-up Aidan Hutchinson for DROY.

Oh well. This will be a distant memory when Witherspoon wins Defensive Player of the Year in 2024.