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Round 3, Pick 2: 49ers select Colorado CB Ahkello Witherspoon

Apr 28, 2017 at 6:42 PM--


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With the second pick of the third round in the 2017 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers have selected Colorado cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon. The 49ers hosted Witherspoon for a visit on April 11th.

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 Colorado, Witherspoon had a total of 59 tackles, 25 passes defended, and three interceptions.

The 6-foot-3 and 198-pound Witherspoon was one of three members of Colorado's secondary who earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors and was tied with teammate Tedric Thompson for first place in the nation with 23 passes defended in 2016 – one of which was an interception. He also made 23 tackles and had an interception last season.

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

Witherspoon ranked as the 66th-best player available in ESPN analyst Mel Kiper's big board and the 84th-best player available in NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock's Top 100 Prospects list. He was ranked as the 10th-best cornerback available according to Pro Football Focus.

NFL.com projected that Witherspoon would be selected in rounds 2 or 3 of the NFL Draft.

Pro Football Focus stats to know: 13 passes broken up in 2016 tied him at No. 1 in the nation.



Lance Zierlein of NFL Media, who compares Witherspoon to Patrick Robinson, had the following to say in his scouting report:

"Possesses a rare combination of size and speed and saw his ball production take a substantial leap this season. Witherspoon played just one season of high school football so his technique and route awareness should continue to improve. Witherspoon's length and his ability to mirror and match in space should launch him into early playing time, but his unwillingness to tackle and hit will be a complete turn-off for some teams."

Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst had the following to say in his scouting report:

"Entering the season Witherspoon was ignored by scouts, but he turned in a terrific campaign and is now poised to be a second-day draft pick. He possesses the size and speed to develop into a starter if he continues to progress on the field."

Pro Football Focus had the following to say in their draft analysis:

"Witherspoon offers elite length at the cornerback position with his 6-foot-3 frame and 33-inch arms. He uses his long arms to disrupt the receivers route and stay on top of him. Even if he is trailing the wide receiver by a step on a vertical route his height, long arms and vertical leaping ability all combine to help him disrupt passes other cornerbacks might not be able to make a play on. His length also reduces the size of passing windows and allows him to still wrap his arm around and break up slants where he has already given up inside leverage. Opposing QBs only had a lowly 50.9 QB rating when throwing into WItherspoon's coverage in 2016. Witherspoon's quick feet and excellent balance combined with his length make him a formidable press corner. He isn't winning with strength/physicality yet but when that element gets added to his game he can become an even better press corner. His range and length also make him effective in off coverage. Witherspoon is an outside press corner with impressive measurables, explosive athleticism and high football IQ. Witherspoon is a starting cornerback in the NFL who will likely get pushed down in the draft a bit due to the depth of the cornerback class this year."

Measurables


Height: 6-3
Weight: 198 lbs.
Arm length: 33 inches
Hand length: 9 7/8 inches

NFL Scouting Combine


40-time: 4.45 seconds
Vertical: 40.5 inches
Broad jump: 127 inches
3-cone drill: 6.93 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.13 seconds
60-shuttle drill: 11.60 seconds

College Statistics


Year G Tkl PD Int Yds
2014 10 12 2 0 0
2015 13 36 3 2 0
2016 14 23 22 1 0
Totals 37 71 27 3 0


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