For a certain echelon of college prospects, the NFL Combine and subsequent pro days that follow it are merely a way of checking what evaluators have already seen on tape. A check in the box, if you will. That is exactly what cornerback Devon Witherspoon’s pro day at the University of Illinois was. A confirmation of what many already knew. After all, Witherspoon’s tape speaks for itself, but reports of a 4.42 to 4.46 40-yard dash helps, too.
All of this is relevant because there is a distinct possibility that Detroit Lions’ general manager Brad Holmes could select a cornerback like Witherspoon as high as sixth overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Yes, the Lions have already allocated resources to repairing their previously-thin secondary. Cornerbacks Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley and C.J. Gardner-Johnson could very well be the starting cornerbacks in 2023 for Detroit when things are all said and done. However, both Moseley and Gardner-Johnson are on one-year deals, and with the way the NFL is predicated on high-powered passing attacks, a more long-term solution is needed.
If you went to Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and asked him to build the prototypical cornerback, the player’s skill-set might come out looking close to what Witherspoon brings to the table. At 5-foot-11 and 181 pounds, Witherspoon isn’t the biggest or most physically-imposing of defensive backs, but he plays with an attitude. You feel when he hits you, and in a similar fashion to Gardner-Johnson, he will let you know about it, too. In coverage, Witherspoon is sticky and possesses smooth hips—capable of flipping and running with anyone. All traits that evaluators covet when it comes to playing cornerback in the NFL.
Oh yeah, he also has ties to a current Lion—safety Kerby Joseph. The two played together at the University of Illinois, and were even roommates. During Witherspoon’s pro day, he talked about how cool it would be to reunite with Joseph, a player he had great chemistry with back in 2021.
I asked Devon Witherspoon what it would be like to team back up with Kerby Joseph on the Lions @JKERB25 @DevonWitherspo1 #Illini #Lions #NFLDraft2023 @BretBielema pic.twitter.com/We7VvOjk9G— Dante J Furco (@DanteFurco) April 5, 2023
Beyond the ties to Joseph, Lions’ cornerback coach Dre Bly was in attendance for Witherspoon’s pro day.
New @Lions cornerbacks coach Dre Bly is in attendance for Devon Witherspoon’s pro day.— Mark Pearson (@MarkPearsonTV) April 5, 2023
Detroit has the 6th overall pick in the draft. pic.twitter.com/2t57UTwXkD
Overall, Witherspoon had a great pro day, and likely further cemented his status as a consensus top-20 pick. Could he be in play for the Lions with one of their two first-round picks later this month? Judging by what we saw at his pro day, I would certainly say it’s possible.
And now, onto the rest of today’s notes:
- A familiar face is back in Allen Park and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Look who I found in Allen Park pic.twitter.com/v5uDq2C5Dv— kyle meinke (@kmeinke) April 5, 2023
Buzzin‼️— Detroit Lions (@Lions) April 5, 2023
If you’re a fan of the Lions scoring lots of points, then this picture on wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown’s Instagram should make you smile from ear-to-ear. This answers many questions people had—like “who else was there?”—about Tuesday’s story on Jameson Williams training with Amon-Ra St. Brown.
- Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press dives into the reasoning behind Lions’ GM Brad Holmes not having a depth chart in his war room.
Why Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes does not have a depth chart in his NFL draft room https://t.co/ajkiSSm0Ug via @freep— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) April 5, 2023
- The Lions playoff odds for 2023 via the DraftKings Sportsbook. What a time to be alive.
Lions playoff odds pic.twitter.com/v6o4u7nSc5— PFF Bet (@PFF_Bet) April 4, 2023
- Interesting note here regarding the Lions’ spending at the wide receiver position (click through the tweet to see the entire list):
most expensive WR rooms in 2023:— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) April 1, 2023
1. Rams - $51.9M
2. Cardinals - $51.7M
3. Broncos - $42.9M
4. Raiders - $42.0M
5. Jaguars - $39.0M
6. Bucs - $38.5M
7. Browns - $38.3M
8. Dolphins - $36.5M
9. Seahawks - $35.5M
10. Commanders - $32.5M
11. Bears - $31.5M
12. Chargers - $30.4M