Proposed Trade Has Raiders Send Draft Pick to Land Veteran Steelers CB

Ahkello Witherspoon

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers CB Ahkello Witherspoon.

Many Las Vegas Raiders fans wanted to see the team draft Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon but perhaps they have a chance to add a different cornerback with the same last name. The team left the 2023 draft with just one cornerback in the fourth round. It was considered one of the team’s biggest needs so it was a surprise they didn’t do more to address it.

However, there are still interesting options available to the Raiders. Some intriguing free agents like Marcus Peters and Casey Hayward could be fits but the team could also look at the trade market. Alex Kay of Bleacher Report pitched a trade that sees the Raiders send a 2024 sixth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon:

The Las Vegas Raiders would be a good fit for Witherspoon. The team has a lack of talented veterans in its secondary, with Duke Shelley and David Long Jr. currently projected to be the two starters on the outside. The club did use a fourth-round pick to draft Jakorian Bennett, but it will want to grab at least one more experienced defensive back before training camp begins.

While the team has some free-agent options it could still explore, Witherspoon may be the best choice given his relatively cheap cost—he has a $5.5 million cap hit in 2023, the final year of his current deal—age and experience, as he’s 28 years old and heading into his seventh NFL season.


There Are Injury Concerns With Witherspoon

Witherspoon isn’t a household name. Prior to joining the Steelers, he was with the San Francisco 49ers and briefly with the Seattle Seahawks. He has started in 40 career games so he does have plenty of experience. However, there’s a reason he hasn’t caught on as a consistent starter. He has been plagued by injuries throughout his career.

Witherspoon has never played more than 14 games in a season. Last season, he was regulated to just four games due to a hamstring injury. He earned a starting role on a very good Steelers defense last season but couldn’t stay on the field long. A sixth-round pick is a good deal for a cornerback with Witherspoon’s experience but the Raiders couldn’t rely on him to be a full-time starter.


Will Raiders Add Another CB?

The Raiders have had many perceived needs this offseason but general manager Dave Ziegler hasn’t been one to follow what the fans believe are needs. That said, the team should seriously consider adding a veteran cornerback. It’s possible that Duke Shelley and David Long Jr. will be solid starters but Las Vegas is in the same division as Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and now Russell Wilson has Sean Payton calling his plays.

The Raiders can’t afford to have a weak secondary. As noted earlier, there are still good options like Hayward and Peters on the market. The team should at least kick the tires on those two. 2023 is clearly going to be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Raiders so they may not feel like they have to force the issue. Regardless, the team will need to revamp its secondary in the near future.

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