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Monday Round-Up: How Seahawks' Devon Witherspoon Leapt From Top 5 Pick To Defensive Rookie Of The Year Frontrunner

ESPN NFL Nation reporter Brady Henderson evaluates 2023 first-round selection Devon Witherspoon’s battle for defensive rookie of the year.


Good morning, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Monday, December 17 — about your Seattle Seahawks.

Devon Witherspoon was a first-round selection; now he's a top candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

In April, the Seahawks selected Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon with the No. 5 selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. Brady Henderson of ESPN’s NFL Nation breaks down why Witherspoon is in a tight race with Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter for 2023 Defensive Rookie of the Year.

In 2022, the Pensacola, Florida native was named the Big 12 Defensive Back of the Year, earning the Tatum-Woodson Award after leading the nation in completion percentage allowed (33.8). After becoming Seattle's first pick last spring, Witherspoon has excelled through 12 games played while rotating from playing outside to nickel cornerback. Currently, Witherspoon's 16 pass deflections put him No. 1 amongst rookie defenders, while tying for No. 3 league wide. In addition, Witherspoon has recorded 65 tackles, in interception he returned for a 97-yard touchdown, four tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks and a forced fumble. The 6-7 Seahawks prepare to face the 10-3 Eagles at Lumen Field on Monday Night Football, in a game that holds plenty of weight in Seattle's chances of earning a playoff berth. Witherspoon is questionable for the game due to a hip injury, but if he plays, the game will also be a showcase for two of the leading candidates for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, as Seattle faces Jalen Carter, who Philadelphia selected at No. 9 overall. Henderson breaks down the pre-draft process, as Seattle decided which player would best fit their defense in 2023.

Few mock drafts, if any, predicted Seattle would take Witherspoon with the fifth pick. Many had the Seahawks going with quarterbacksAnthony RichardsonorWill Levis. Others had them taking defensive endTyree Wilson. But perhaps the player most commonly mocked to Seattle at No. 5 wasJalen Carter, the All-American defensive tackle out of Georgia who would have filled by far the biggest hole on the Seahawks' roster. And to some, he was exactly the kind of game-wrecking interior defender Seattle had been trying to find for years, a search that continued in October when it traded a second-round pick forLeonard Williams. But the Seahawks had concerns about Carter, whopleaded no contest to misdemeanor chargesof reckless driving and racing in March after being involved in a crash that killed a Georgia teammate and a recruiting staff member. Seattle instead used the highest selection of the Carroll/GM John Schneider era on Witherspoon. Four picks later, thePhiladelphia Eaglestraded up one spotto grab Carter at No. 9 overall. The Eagles knew the pick came with risk, but they believed in his upside.

Carter’s rookie campaign has featured 27 combined tackles, 4.0 sacks, six tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for a score. The Georgia alum has become a factor on the Eagles' defensive front, despite not starting a game. While playing different positions and walking contrasting paths to get to this point, both players have propelled themselves to being recognized as game-changers in Year 1. Through the first-five weeks of the season, Carter led all defensive tackles in pressures on the quarterback with 25. Witherspoon battled through a hamstring issue early, leaping to earn the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for October.

Henderson provides readers with a glimpse at the decision that Seattle made on draft night - along with providing context of just how happy the team is with their choice in Witherspoon. The Illinois alum has showcased his athletic prowess and versatility by performing at two positions, in addition to physicality. Witherspoon's 65 tackles are good for fifth on Seattle's defense, but it's the bone-jarring hits of the 6-foot-1 185-pound corner that's become a story of its own. After delivering a big hit in Seattle's 28-16 Week 15 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Witherspoon went down with a hip pointer. Coach Pete Carroll discussed Witherspoon's status and what the team has seen from him thus far.

"We've all had an opportunity to evaluate Spoon," said Carroll. "We've seen him in so many situations already. You can see the explosive makeup that he has ... the playmaking, the toughness, the juice, the natural football instincts and all of that. He's had a fantastic start. I would expect that he's going to make it back this week and he'll be out there battling again."

Donate food before Monday night's game for a free Seahawks beanie and a chance to win Super Bowl Tickets

Tonight's Monday Night Football contest between the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles will take place at Lumen Field, as Seattle looks to get back into the win column with the help of their home crowd. With the Holiday Season in full-swing, the franchise is asking for 12s coming to support to donate canned foods and diapers to benefit Home Team Harvest - a collaborative effort between King 5 and Safeway to raise donations for the Northwest Harvest. Serving as the largest hunger relief agency in Washington State, Northwest Harvest works with over 400 schools and programs across the state to provide meals to those in need. The organization has been hard at work to provide meals for Washington residents since 2001.

Suggested donation items with the greatest need include:

○     Diapers (all sizes/ages/styles)

○     Peanut Butter

○     Canned Proteins (tuna, chicken, beans)

○     Pasta

○     Mac & Cheese

○     Pantry Staples

○     Canned Vegetables

○     Cooking Essentials

○     Baby Food

 For more information about the food drive to get prepared for this evening's contest, read here.

Social Post Of The Day

Mo Haider of KOMO News previews the Seahawks home matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football.

More From Around The Web

Seahawks players visited Safeway on Tuesday, December 12 to spread holiday cheer, buy groceries and encourage people to donate to the Home Team Harvest food drive. Fans attending the Week 15 Monday night matchup versus the Eagles are encouraged to bring non-perishable items to donate prior to entry to Lumen Field.

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