Devon Witherspoon mock draft: Illinois CB is soaring up draft boards

With the NFL Combine underway, it’s time once again for the best college football players in the country to show off their skills. One person who certainly falls into this category is Devon Witherspoon.

Witherspoon has been rocketing the draft boards in recent weeks after a stellar senior season for Illinois. The cornerback — predicted as a second- or third-round pick not too long ago — is now being touted as a potential top 10 pick overall. Pundits like ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. have ridiculed him down to 7th overall.

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What’s behind Witherspoon’s meteoric rise as the 2023 NFL Draft draws ever closer? Here’s a look at what makes him such an enticing prospect for NFL teams:

Devon Witherspoon scouting report

Witherspoon is an aggressive, energetic cornerer who excelled in his final collegiate season. Listed at 6-1 and 180 pounds, he is not physically imposing, but he has great speed and a strong instinct at cover. His stock is likely to continue rising after training at the combine this week.

He wasn’t heavily recruited when he graduated from Pine Forest High School in Pensacola, Fla., and he originally signed on to play at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas, according to The Draft Network. After graduating well in high school, he became interested in Power 5 programs. He eventually decided to bring his talents to Illinois.

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As a freshman, he saw plenty of action, playing in 12 games and leading the team on special teams. He continued to improve, earning more and more defensive snaps under head coaches Lovie Smith and Bret Bielema.

His senior season was by far the best of his Illini career. He recorded 33 solo tackles, 14 pass defenses and three interceptions while holding opposing quarterbacks at a 24.6 passer rating when he was targeted. He became the first Illinois cornerback to be named a Consensus All-American, and he won the Tatum-Woodson Award for Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year.

His strengths include top-notch ball skills, solid tackles and the ability to play man-marked. If there’s one glaring weakness, it’s probably its size. He’ll have a steep learning curve against bigger receivers in the NFL, but he certainly is not afraid to punish people.

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Overall, Witherspoon is considered a first-rounder who could break into the top 10 in April.

Devon Witherspoon Mock Draft

In his latest mock draft, The Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer predicts Witherspoon being taken 23rd overall by the Ravens.

“Marcus Peters and Kyle Fuller are among their free agents on the corner behind Marlon Humphrey, so the secondary side should be a major concern (for Baltimore),” Iyer wrote. “Witherspoon makes good use of his size to play in men’s marking as Peters once did at a breakneck pace.”

Here’s where several other draft experts landed Witherspoon:

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Highlights of Devon Witherspoon

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