Like it or not, Steelers have not expressed interest in CB Devon Witherspoon
By Tommy Jaggi
Since before the 2022 college football season ended, many Pittsburgh Steelers fans have had their eyes on Illinois cornerback, Devon Witherspoon. The gritty CB played like a savvy veteran with his ability re-direct the routes of wide receiver and he splashed with his outstanding performance against the run.
Witherspoon is a player that checks a ton of boxes that the team typically looks for in a first-round pick, and his violent demeanor, tackling ability, and scheme versatility would make him an ideal fit in Pittsburgh. But if you are getting your hopes up that the Steelers could make a move for Witherspoon, you may want to pump the brakes.
For whatever reason, Pittsburgh simply has not expressed much interest in the talented Illinois cornerback. This dates all the way back to the NFL Scouting Combine. In Indianapolis, the Steelers met with a number of early-round cornerbacks like Joey Porter Jr., Cam Smith, Kelee Ringo, Emmanuel Forbes, and Deonte Banks. However, Witherspoon didn't make the cut. (You can follow every visit on our live tracker).
By itself, this isn't a big deal. But the lack of interest at the Combine means that Witherspoon either needed to earn a Pro Day meeting from Pittsburgh's brass or a pre-draft visit. He earned neither. While Witherspoon didn't participate in Pro Day drills the first time around because of an injury, he held a private workout recently, but there wasn't a Steelers representative to be found.
Steelers won't draft Devon Witherspoon
If history has taught us something, it's that the Pittsburgh Steelers do not draft players in the first round that they haven't met with prior to the NFL Draft. This is evidence that dates back to at least the 2010 season. With Omar Khan and Andy Weidl now running the front office, things could change, but the fact that Mike Tomlin is such a big part of the team and the pre-draft process makes me believe that they won't.
Perhaps the reason is that the Steelers never felt like Witherspoon was realistic to fall with them at pick 17. But if that's the case, why use a 30-visit on Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez just recently? He could go even higher in the draft.
At the very least, it seems like the Steelers would have done their homework on Devon Witherspoon during the pre-draft process. With just two weeks until the kickoff of the 2023 NFL Draft, it seems highly unlikely that there's any shot Pittsburgh ends up with Witherspoon, and a trade-up won't happen.