Frustrating loss after frustrating loss has quickly sent the Seattle Seahawks’ season spiraling into unwelcome territory, but at least one thing on this team has remained consistently impressive. Of course I am talking about the rookie sensation, Tariq Woolen, who has easily been one of the most fun players to follow this season. Even with the team’s struggles, the young corner is demonstrating a fierce resolve, as he continues to put forth his best effort week in and week out. He hasn’t been without his own struggles, of course, which is why I was particularly happy to see Woolen bounce back after surrendering a touchdown to George Kittle on a blown assignment a week earlier. Even taking that misstep into account, Woolen has rapidly matured into a shutdown corner. Check this out:
Tariq Woolen vs Chiefs:— Sami Jarjour (@SamiOnTap) December 30, 2022
33 coverage snaps
1 reception allowed (6 yards)
The Seahawks rookie CB against Mahomes pic.twitter.com/tsCwGdycKB
And what was the one incompletion? Just a touchdown saving play, that is all.
Credit the cold weather with slowing down KC’s electrifying offense to some extent, but the fact remains that Woolen has consistently been putting up performances like this throughout the season, and if anything he is only getting better. Teams are noticing and accounting for this, as well. According to Pro Football Focus, following the loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 10 where he was targeted six times, Woolen has seen a measly total of ten passes thrown his way; on these, he has allowed five receptions for 121 yards and one touchdown, with one interception as well. No, it is not wonderful that this equates to 12.1 yards per target; however, if you take out the previously mentioned 54 yard catch-and-run by Kittle, this drops down to 67 yards on nine targets, or 7.4 yards per target. Of course, you can’t simply ignore the bad plays, but my point is that Woolen is a rookie, and all rookies make mistakes. Very few rookies, however, earn the respect of opposing offenses this rapidly. Here is the passing chart from last week’s game, just for some more evidence.
The Tariq Woolen Effect - Episode Amène nous en PO stp— Seahawks France (@SeahawksFrance) December 26, 2022
- 33 snaps en couverture
- 2 target
- 1 réception autorisée - 6 yards
- 1 passe défendue pic.twitter.com/jqcjnZWuuw
Tariq Woolen has conclusively put together an inspiring rookie season, and not simply from the mindset of “wow, he could turn into a good player in the future.” Rather, we have already seen him turn into a good player, and his ascent looks to be far from over. Players build reputations for themselves, and Woolen has quickly earned the reputation of being a Shut-Down Corner. He has at least two more weeks of this season to add to his already impressive resume, as he looks to face Mike White and Baker Mayfield over the coming weeks. Regardless of how this season ends, however, Tariq Woolen has given us something to be optimistic about on a defense where optimism is scarce, and that is definitely worth a 5th round selection.