General manager John Lynch made a trade on Tuesday that makes Ahkello Witherspoon, right, the top cornerback on the 49ers roster. (Courtesy Keith Allison/Flickr)

General manager John Lynch made a trade on Tuesday that makes Ahkello Witherspoon, right, the top cornerback on the 49ers roster. (Courtesy Keith Allison/Flickr)

Ahkello Witherspoon embraces role as top 49ers cornerback after trade

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers front office unceremoniously got rid of another vestige of the old regime as the Faithful celebrated the beginning of a new era on Tuesday.

The Niners flipped 2016 fourth-round pick Rashard Robinson for a fifth rounder in the 2018 draft. The move represented how fall Robinson had fallen since entering the season as the top cornerback on the depth chart.

“It wasn’t an easy decision,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday.

Ultimately, the 49ers valued draft picks so much, they couldn’t pass on an opportunity to add one in the fifth after losing theirs in the Vance McDonald trade.

Making the decision easier — in addition to Robinson’s penalty problems — was Ahkello Witherspoon’s strong play on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Witherspoon, a third-round pick in 2016, made an impressive athletic play to intercept Carson Wentz.

“We thought he played well. Hoping he gets better as this goes,” Shanahan said. “Knowing that he was starting definitely makes it easier.”

Witherspoon and Robinson were friends in the locker room. And Tuesday’s move was the first lesson for the rookie Witherspoon that your pals in the NFL can be there today and gone tomorrow.

“I think highly of him as a player, period,” Witherspoon said of Robinson. “I’m not going to pretend about that. So to see [him traded] is a shock.”

For now, Witherspoon will take the vote of confidence from his coaches and focus on improving the mental side of his game.

He said he misread the play when he allowed a touchdown against the Eagles, but that he’s going to grow from the mistake.

How does he plan to go about that?

“Try and go for two picks next time,” Witherspoon said.

jpalmer@sfexaminer.comkyle shanahanNew York JetsNFLrashard robinsonSan Francisco 49ersTrade deadlinetrent brown

Just Posted

A collaborative workspace for a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) in Coordinape is pictured at a recent blockchain meet up at Atlas Cafe. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Business without bosses: San Francisco innovators battle bureaucracy with blockchain

‘The next generation will work for three DAOs at the same time’

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
Plan Bay Area 2050: Analyzing an extensive regional plan that covers the next 30 years

Here are the big ticket proposals in the $1.4 trillion proposal

Pregnant women are in the high-risk category currently prioritized for booster shots in San Francisco. (Unai Huizi/Shutterstock)
What pregnant women need to know about COVID and booster shots

Inoculations for immunosuppressed individuals are recommended in the second trimester

Examiner reporter Ben Schneider drives an Arcimoto Fun Utility Vehicle along Beach Street in Fisherman’s Wharf on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Could San Francisco’s tiny tourist cruisers become the cars of the future?

‘Fun Utility Vehicles’ have arrived in The City

Most Read