SF 49ers Disappointment No. 4: Ahkello Witherspoon Isn’t Bouncing Back
The battle for the No. 2 boundary cornerback job has been one of the Niners’ biggest training camp storylines over the first two-plus weeks, and it’s for good reason.
It’s likely opposing teams are going to pick on whoever is over there opposite the veteran, Richard Sherman, just like fellow cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon experienced in 2018 after coming off an impressive rookie campaign the year before.
Witherspoon bounced back nicely early in 2019, suffered a serious foot sprain, got his starting job back, lost it to depth corner Emmanuel Moseley, got it back again in the playoffs only to lose it to Moseley once more.
More from Niner Noise
- Predicting 49ers NFL Draft picks by looking at final mocks
- DraftKings NFL Draft Promo – Win $150 Guaranteed on Any $5 Bet
- 2023 NFL Draft: EDGE Byron Young could be impact player for 49ers
- 5 low-key NFL Draft options for 49ers who are flying under the radar
- Updated 49ers salary cap space ahead of 2023 NFL Draft
Entering a contract year and squarely on the bubble, one would have figured Witherspoon understood what was on the line. But most accounts have him third in the pecking order behind Moseley and oft-injured veteran Jason Verrett, who appears to be the favorite to start in Week 1.
Niners Nation’s Kyle Posey described Witherspoon’s struggles so far in camp, and it’s not reassuring:
"When your confidence is shaky at a position where you’re going to get beaten—it’s inevitable—then it’s hard to rely on you in big moments. Too often during the week, Witherspoon would give up a play and let that affect him for the rest of the team period. I wouldn’t think much of it if Witherspoon was giving up plays to star wideouts, but the Shawn Poindexter’s of the world, who’s fine, but he’s been a practice squad player for a reason, shouldn’t be getting the best of Witherspoon. The most frustrating part about him is that I can’t nail down what is going wrong."
Verrett’s injury history and lack of polished depth at the position could still spell a roster spot for Witherspoon.
But it’s pretty safe to assume Witherspoon isn’t being pegged for a significant role with San Francisco this season. Certainly not beyond.