What we learned from the Seahawks barn-burner loss at New Orleans
By Matthew Holm
Tariq Woolen is quickly becoming Seahawks ace cornerback.
Seahawks fans understandably have some high standards for cornerback play over the last two and a half decades. From Shawn Springs to Marcus Trufant to Richard Sherman, Seattle has rarely had to wait very long to find a number one corner.
Of the three listed, Sherman’s shoes are undoubtedly the toughest to fill; the Stanford product was a combination of length, instinct, and savvy that created an entirely new archetype for the cornerback position, and finding a suitable replacement has been a tough ask for the DB whisperers in the Seahawks’ coaching staff, perusing through names like Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers, and D.J. Reed before finally landing on Woolen this past training camp, albeit somewhat out of necessity.
Now, of the potential replacements Seattle looked through, very few were outright bad, and Reed especially looks like a stud in his own right, but Woolen has begun his career looking like an evolved version of Sherman. He’s not as sharp when it comes to reading and studying the opponent — he is only a rookie, after all, and Sherman has very few peers in that regard throughout the history of football.
That said, Woolen is even longer than Sherman, more nimble, and infinitely faster. His ball skills are sharp, and he’s plenty clever himself, as he’s proven more than once using his superior athleticism to bait quarterbacks into throwing the ball right in his path. Sherman may be the one tutoring Woolen, but there’s an equal measure of Champ Bailey shining through. If Woolen keeps improving and adding to his athleticism and soft skills with additional study, he has unlimited potential, beyond anything we’ve ever seen at the cornerback position.