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

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Construction in the Better Market Street Project between Fifth and Eighth streets is expected to break ground in mid-2021.<ins></ins>
SFMTA board to vote on Better Market Street changes

Agency seeks to make up for slimmed-down plan with traffic safety improvements

U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks during an event to name President-elect Joe Biden’s economic team at the Queen Theater on Dec. 1, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
Kamala Harris to resign from Senate

Bridget Bowman CQ-Roll Call Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will resign from the… Continue reading

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) speaks during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Pelosi called for the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump a day after his supporters stormed the Capitol. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
Feds seeking woman whose ex says she stole Nancy Pelosi’s laptop during Capitol riot

Jeremy Roebuck The Philadelphia Inquirer Federal authorities have obtained an arrest warrant… Continue reading

Most Read