Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports



After a sideline meltdown during a loss to the Dallas Cowboys and a season's worth of inconsistent and undisciplined play, second-year cornerback Rashard Robinson lost his starting job. Against the Philadelphia Eagles, he was replaced by 2017 third-round draft pick Ahkello Witherspoon, who was Pro Football Focus' highest-graded player for the 49ers on Sunday and the second-highest graded player of the game.

Pro Football Focus had the following to say about Witherspoon's performance against the Eagles.

"Witherspoon was active throughout the game and was continuously tight in coverage. Outside of a 50-50 ball with Jeffrey that ultimately ended up being a touchdown, Witherspoon forced a number of errant throws due to his close coverage. He was able to take advantage of a receiver-quarterback miscommunication and jumped a dig route for an interception on Wentz in the third quarter. On the day, Witherspoon was targeted 8 times and allowed just 3 receptions."

Robinson played just 16 snaps on defense against the Eagles and led the team in penalties this season with 10. Just before the trade deadline, the 49ers completed a deal that sent the cornerback to the New York Jets. In return, San Francisco received a fifth-round pick in the 2018 draft.

"I thought [Witherspoon] played a pretty good game (against the Eagles)," head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Monday. "He gave us a spark there, played good in his coverage, got us that interception, which I thought was a big play, and he gave up that go-route the next series, which wasn't good enough, but I think Ahkello can look from him. I think he showed some good things to get excited about and I hope he continues to get better."

After a lot of hype surrounding Robinson as he headed into his second NFL season, erratic play and the sideline meltdown that included the throwing of his helmet and yelling at a member of the coaching staff, sealed his fate and ended his time in San Francisco.

Witherspoon played at Colorado in 2014 after spending the previous year at Sacramento City Community College. He appeared in 10 games and started one before becoming a part-time starter the following season. Through his final two years with the Buffaloes, Witherspoon had a total of 59 tackles, 25 passes defended, and three interceptions.

According to Pro Football Focus, Witherspoon allowed just a 31.8-percent catch rate and a 50.9 quarterback rating when targeted in 2016 while playing for Colorado.