Akhello Witherspoon is the second Colorado player off the board in the 2017 NFL Draft. The former Buffalo was drafted in the third round by the San Francisco 49ers (66th overall) and became the 21st secondary player drafted within the top 70 picks.
AHKELLO WITHERSPOON TO THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS— RalphieReport (@RalphieReport) April 29, 2017
The 6-foot-3, 200 pound defensive back known for his unique combination of size, speed and ball skills. Last season, he led all of college football with 23 pass deflections allowing a paltry 26.5% completion rate against him (second in the nation). Ahkello’s lone interception against quarterback Dakota Prukop was arguably the single-biggest play for CU’s 2016 season, sealing a 41-38 win over Oregon at Autzen showing that #TheRise was real.
With the addition of Witherspoon, Stanford’s Solomon Thomas and Alabama’s Reuben Foster, the 49ers and new GM John Lynch stuck to addressing needs on the defensive side of the ball in the first three rounds. And all for a good cause considering San Francisco ranked last in the NFL in total defense in 2016.
Witherspoon, a California native, heads back home to play alongside cornerbacks Jimmie Ward (30th pick, 2014) and Rashard Robinson (133rd, 2014), along with defensive wrecker Eric Reid (18th, 2013) and Don Jones (250th, 2013) at the safety positions. With play like he had at Colorado, Witherspoon can work his way into serious playing time in his rookie season.
Witherspoon was drafted just six picks after fellow Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, and that might not be the last you see from the Buffaloes secondary as fellow #MoneyGang teammate Tedric Thompson is projected to be a mid-round selection. Colorado has never had two cornerbacks selected within the first three rounds.
Short wait for the second Buff -- Ahkello Witherspoon to the 49ers. Congrats!!!— David Plati (@davidplati) April 29, 2017
Congrats @ahhh_kello on being drafted by the 49ers in the third round of the NFL draft!— Rick George (@RickGeorgeCU) April 29, 2017
Coach Mike MacIntyre credited Witherspoon’s development to his success and sees him with the potential of being a good NFL talent. “He was a young man who just kept developing,” MacIntyre said. “I saw great skills in him and he had a great work ethic and developed those skills. He's a very intelligent young man and I'm very excited for him. In another year he's going to be bigger and stronger and he's going to be an excellent, excellent NFL player."
Welcome to the league, Akhello.