No. 4: Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon
Remember former 49rs cornerback Rashard Robinson, the 2016 rookie who flashed plenty of promise, only to completely melt down the following year before being traded off to the New York Jets.
We can hope he isn’t on the same trajectory, but second-year corner Ahkello Witherspoon is looking a lot like Robinson lately.
Witherspoon’s ascent in 2017 was a primary reason why the Niners traded off Robinson. And San Francisco’s then-rookie corner ended up finishing last year with an impressive 74.5 overall grade, according to Pro Football Focus.
Now, Witherspoon owns a lowly 42.9 grade — 107th out of 111 qualifying cornerbacks.
To compound the problem, Witherspoon has three penalties called against him on the season, replicating the same kinds of problems Robinson experienced his second year at the NFL level.
The 49ers knew Witherspoon was going to be targeted early and often throughout the season, mainly because of Richard Sherman’s presence on the other side. Yet the disappointment is Witherspoon simply hasn’t responded to the increased pressure.
Maybe that changes as the season wears on. For now, though, Witherspoon has been unimpressive.