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Tuesday Round-Up: Devon Witherspoon Named ESPN's Midseason Defensive Rookie of the Year

Seahawks rookie Devon Witherspoon earns midseason honors from ESPN’s Bill Barnwell.


Good morning, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Tuesday, November 7 — about your Seattle Seahawks.

Seahawks CB Devon Witherspoon Named ESPN's Midseason Defensive Rookie of the Year

The Illinois alum was the first of 10 selections by Seattle in April's draft at No. 5 overall, becoming the highest-selected Fighting Illini player since 1996. Witherspoon joined cornerback Riq Woolen (2022) and Legends Lofa Tatupu (2005) and Rocky Bernard (2002) as the only Seahawks defenders to win rookie of the month in franchise history. Through seven games, Witherspoon has recorded 39 combined tackles, 2.0 sacks, nine passes defensed and an interception returned for a score. Currently, Witherspoon's 80.2 grade from Pro Football Focus through 9 weeks ranks No. 4 amongst all rookies at every position.

Barnwell breaks down Witherspoon's versatility in playing outside and in the slot - and why he's been the top rookie of defense to the season's halfway point.

Nobody on the Seahawks can feel good aboutgetting blown out in Baltimoreon Sunday afternoon, but that's not going to define Seattle's season. Witherspoon has very conspicuously emerged as a force in the secondary, settling in and immediately looking like a veteran.

After missing the Week 1 loss to the Rams with an injury, he has been virtually an every-down players. He made 11 tackles in thewin over the Panthers, but his coming-out party was in Week 4, when hetormented the Giantsfor 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, 3 quarterback knockdowns and a97-yard pick-12to put the game to bed. He followed that with aviral hit on Rondale Mooreagainst the Cardinals, albeit on a play that produced a first down. The Seahawks started with Witherspoon playing outside before moving him into the slot, which speaks to a flexibility that we almost never see from rookie corners. He has been great in both places. He has been targeted 51 times as the nearest defender in coverage, allowing just 5.4 yards per target while giving up two touchdowns in eight games. The only cornerbacks with 200 or more coverage snaps who have allowed fewer yards per target this season areXavien HowardandL'Jarius Sneed.

Witherspoon will look to help the Seahawks return to the win column in Week 10, as they host the Washington Commanders on Sunday at Lumen Field. If his rookie campaign continues in the direction it's going, he may hoist the actual Defensive Rookie of the Year trophy at the conclusion of the season.

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Seahawks rookie Devon Witherspoon's 56.7 passer rating ranks No. 6 amongst all cornerbacks league-wide through 9 weeks, per Pro Football Focus' Brad Spielberger.

Take a look at the 53-man roster for the 2023 Seahawks.

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