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Devon Witherspoon On Track To Make Seahawks Debut Sunday

First-round pick Devon Witherspoon is preparing to make his NFL debut when the Seahawks play at Detroit Sunday.

Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon (21) at practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash. on Sept. 13, 2023.
Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon (21) at practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash. on Sept. 13, 2023.

Devon Witherspoon's rookie training camp was limited by a hamstring injury, but when he has been on the field, he has shown a knack for making life difficult on receivers.

Or as DK Metcalf described it, the first-round pick out of Illinois has been, "like a little gnat that doesn't go away."

And make no mistake, Metcalf wasn't comparing Witherspoon to an insect to insult the rookie; he meant it in a good way.

"He's always just around the ball, he's always just going to be around you, he's always active," Metcalf said. "Last week in practice he chased me down still trying to punch the ball out and I'm 30 yards down the field. That's just the type of player that he is, and I expect that from him. A Top-5 pick who's not going to back down from a challenge, he's going to step up and he's going to try and make a play every time he steps on the field."

Assuming all goes well the next few days, Witherspoon will soon get his chance to be "a little gnat" to an opposing offense. After missing a significant portion of training camp and the preseason with a hamstring injury, Witherspoon returned to practice last week, then was a full-participant on Wednesday, putting him on track to suit up against the Lions for his NFL debut.

"This is his first chance, this is his opener, I'm excited to see him," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said.

Devon Witherspoon is a cornerback for the Seahawks and was drafted No. 5 overall in 2023. Take a look at photos of Witherspoon during his college years at Illinois and so far through his rookie season. Witherspoon was a consensus All-American and Big Ten Tatum–Woodson Defensive Back of the Year in 2022 at Illinois.

Witherspoon, the No. 5 pick in this year's draft, said the hamstring injury has "Been frustrating, how long it's been going on, been lingering. But I've just been trusting the process, just trying to continue to build strength in it.

"It's been a test of my patience. This is my first time dealing with an injury like this, it's just been prolonged longer than I thought it would be. So I'm just trusting the process and trying to get through it."

And now that he has made it back, Witherspoon is ready to make his mark on Seattle's defense.

"I'm excited, but just trying go out there with the guys, get our connection, just go out there and play defense," he said… "I feel like I'm ready. I've got to get the jitters out for my first game, but I've just got to go out there and play."

How the Seahawks use Witherspoon remains to be seen. Primarily an outside cornerback in college, he got significant work in the nickel role prior to his injury, but Carroll has also mentioned Witherspoon's name when talking about the competition between Tre Brown and Michael Jackson at left cornerback.

If Witherspoon does end up in the nickel role to start out, he doesn't think it will be too big of an adjustment.

"It's been smooth," he said. "It's kind of the same as corner, but you're just on the inside."

Wherever Witherspoon plays this week and beyond, the Seahawks are excited to get their first look at a player they are expecting to be a big part of their defense for years to come.

"He's got such a great spirit that he adds to our club, I can't wait for him to be contributing on the field so they can feel him and players can play off of him," Carroll said. "Because he's got a real way about him."

The Seahawks and Lions face off on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023 at Ford Field. Kickoff is set for 10:00 a.m. PT. Take a look back through history at the Seahawks' matchups against the Lions.

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