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Devon Witherspoon Named Finalist For AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Award

Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon was named one of five finalists for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

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Devon Witherspoon arrived in Seattle with lofty expectations placed on his shoulders, having not only been selected with the fifth pick in the draft, but also compared to a Hall of Fame defensive back by his new coach on the day he was selected.

Witherspoon then spent his rookie season with the Seahawks showing that he had what it takes to live up to the hype. And on Friday, Witherspoon was named one of five finalists for the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.

Also up for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors are Texans defensive end Will Anderson, Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter, Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr. and Rams nose tackle Kobie Turner. The winner will be announced at NFL Honors, which takes place on Thursday, February 8 and will air at 6 p.m. PT on CBS.

Witherspoon is the third Seahawks rookie in the past two seasons to be a finalist for AP Rookie of the Year honors, with running back Kenneth Walker III and cornerback Riq Woolen being named finalists last year.

Witherspoon, who led the team and finished fifth in the NFL in passes defensed with 16, also had eight passes defensed, 3.0 sacks and an interception he returned 97 yards for a touchdown. He is the only rookie, and one of only seven players, to reach those numbers in sacks, tackles for loss and passes defensed since passes defensed became a stat in 1999.

One of three Seahawks selected for the 2024 Pro Bowl Games along with Bobby Wagner and Julian Love, Witherspoon was the only rookie defensive player named to the Pro Bowl, and he was also Pro Football Focus' highest-graded rookie defender that played at least 600 snaps.

Witherspoon was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his Week 4 performance in a win over the Giants, and was later named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for October.

"He's so feisty," Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith said. "Just the type of energy that he brings, he's so competitive, great ball skills, great blitzer, very smart for his age. He understands spacing, understands concepts. When you go up against guys like that, it's always going to make you better, and hopefully we're making him better as well. I'm very happy for him, really proud of him, I know he's battled some things, but he's very deserving and I'm really happy for him."

Love was also impressed with his fellow defensive back, saying, "The confidence this kid had around the building, in the meeting room was second-to-none… He just had that confidence that not a lot of young players have,' And he was balling this year."

Check out some of the best photos taken of Seahawks rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon from the 2023 season.

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