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2023 NFL Draft

Steelers Draft: Illinois Cornerback Devon Witherspoon Won’t Run at Pro Day



Steelers draft Illinois Devon Witherspoon

Illinois cornerback and projected first-round draft prospect Devon Witherspoon will not be participating in his team’s pro day on Friday. The decision once again delays any sort of pre-draft audition for teams who might be interested in him in the upcoming NFL Draft, namely the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Witherspoon, a consensus All-American this past go-round, will hold a personal workout for scouts on April 5. He also previously chose not to head down to Mobile for the Senior Bowl last month, which prevented the Steelers from scouting him in person for the week. He hasn’t done any on-field drills while nursing a hamstring injury.

Steelers secondary coach Grady Brown was the defensive coordinator for one of the teams down there and was able to work with other defensive back prospects such as Stanford’s Kyu Blu Kelly, Ohio State’s Ronnie Hickman, and Boise State’s JL Skinner III.

About a month ago, Pro Football Focus ranked Witherspoon as the sixth-best player on their list of the Top 100 prospects in this draft. Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez was listed four spots later. Witherspoon has been tabbed as a Steelers in a few mock drafts. He’s a versatile player that can add some leadership in a defensive backfield that also includes All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

In 2022, Devon Witherspoon totaled 41 tackles, 2.5 sacks, three picks, and 14 passes defended. It was his fourth season starting for the Fighting Illini. Along with All-Big Ten honors, he also was the recipient of the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year Award.

Pittsburgh’s options aren’t limited to Witherspoon, obviously. The team’s brass had formal meetings with plenty of prospects at the league’s scouting combine recently. Those names included Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr., Georgia’s Kelee Ringo, and Alabama’s Eli Ricks.

Witherspoon was also in Indianapolis for the event, but didn’t take part in any workouts or testing.

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