Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks select CB Witherspoon, WR Smith-Njigba in first round of NFL Draft

The Seahawks surprised many in the first round of Thursday’s 2023 NFL Draft by selecting Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon with the fifth overall pick.

Witherspoon was regarded as the top cornerback in the draft and is the first corner selected by the Seahawks in the first round since Kelly Jennings in 2006 (pick 31 overall).

According to Sports Reference, Witherspoon recorded 41 total tackles, 14 passes defended, and three interceptions in his All-American senior season at Illinois.

Some fans thought the Hawks might pick unanimous All-American defensive tackle Jalen Carter out of Georgia, but Carter ended up being selected ninth overall by the Philadelphia Eagles, who traded up from the 10th pick to select him.

The Seahawks selected Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba with the 20th overall pick.

After a big 2021 season where he broke OSU records with 95 catches for 1,606 yards, Smith-Njigba only appeared in three games in 2022 as he battled through a hamstring injury. Still, he was considered one of the top pass catchers in the draft and was the first wide receiver off the board Thursday night.

Rounds 2 and 3 of the draft kick off Friday at 4 p.m., and rounds 4 through 7 start Saturday at 9 a.m.

The Seahawks currently have two second-round picks (37, 52 overall), a third-round pick (83 overall), a fourth-round pick (123 overall), two fifth-round picks (151, 154 overall), a sixth-round pick (198 overall), and a seventh-round pick (237 overall).