Ahkello Witherspoon 2017 NFL Draft Profile

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EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 24: Defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon #23 of the Colorado Buffaloes intercepts a pass intended for wide receiver Darren Carrington II #7 of the Oregon Ducks late in the fourth quarter of the game at Autzen Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Eugene, Oregon. Colorado won the game 41-38. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Overview
Position: Cornerback
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 198 pounds
School: Colorado Buffaloes

Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash
: 4.45 seconds
Vertical jump: 40.5 inches (best among cornerbacks)
Broad jump: 10 feet, 7 inches
Three-cone drill: 6.93 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.13 seconds

Ahkello Witherspoon 2017 NFL Draft Profile

Ahkello Witherspoon comes from a football background. His father played college football, and it had Witherspoon participating at a young age. However, when Witherspoon was in high school, he stood at 5’8”. He was under recruited and saw himself playing at a junior college in Sacramento, where he grew up. By the end of his freshman year, Witherspoon stood at 6’3”, and was receiving Division One interest. Witherspoon elected to play for Colorado, and it turned out to be a good decision.

Witherspoon took a while to get used to his body, and as a sophomore only played in four games. However, he did deflect two balls and seemed to have won the starting cornerback job going into his junior season. His first season as a starter saw ups and downs, but a lot of ups, as he picked off two passes and made 36 tackles as a starter.

In his senior season, Witherspoon teamed up with secondary mates Chidobe Awuzie and Tedric Thompson to turn Colorado around. The Buffs finished at 10-4 with eight conference wins and a Pac-12 South title. He deflected 19 balls, and the secondary was dominant throughout the year. It brought a lot of attention to Witherspoon, and with a good showing at the Combine, his stock is on the rise. How high will it get, and when will he be drafted?

Strengths:

  • Ideal height.
  • Longest arms in the draft.
  • Great athleticism.
  • Makes quick breaks on the ball.
  • Can play press man.
  • Does well reading the quarterback.

Weaknesses

  • Raw in technique and footwork.
  • Balance issues.
  • Needs to add playing strength to consistently win in press.
  • Has questions in defending the run.
  • Not a strong form tackler.

NFL Comparison: Richard Sherman

Teams with needs at position: Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles

Projection: Third Round

Bottom Line:

The Sherman comparison should not come as who he is as a player now, but what he was as a player coming out of college. The two have the combination of elite height, arm length, and athleticism. Athletically, he profiles more similar to Sherman than any player who has ever participated at the Combine.

Sherman, like Witherspoon, came into the NFL very raw, and it affected his draft stock. While the knock on Sherman was that he was a converted receiver, the knock on Witherspoon is that his growth spurt affected fluidity and body movement as a press corner. Still, experience and practice were enough for Sherman to learn the position and the same can be said with the biggest knock on Witherspoon’s game.

Both players show football smarts, which is the most underrated aspect of Sherman’s game. Witherspoon also shows the same confidence to be a man corner. With time to learn, Witherspoon could turn into a star cornerback. Still, there is a floor and it will slide Witherspoon into the mid rounds. However, this could be a chance for one team to find value and upside, and at the price of a third round pick, it will absolutely be worth it.

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