Seahawks cornerback Riq Woolen faltered in year two
Mr. Woolen, where did you go in 2023? That is something many 12s might be asking of a player who was good enough to make the Pro Bowl in his rookie year of 2022 and be tied for the league-lead in interceptions with 6. Woolen's season almost seemed doomed before it began. The cornerback was injured in a freak accident in minicamp where he appeared to step funny and hurt his knee. This required minor surgery and Woolen missed a bunch of training camp and the entire preseason.
Maybe the expectations that after playing just one season in the NFL Woolen would be able to pick up where he left off the season before after missing so much practice were foolish. But then, Woolen started the season well enough by allowing just 7 receiving yards on 2 catches in the Seahawks' first two games. By Week 4, the proverbial wheels had started to fall off for Woolen.
In Week 4 and 6 combined (Seattle had a bye week in Week 5), Woolen allowed 12 of the 17 passes thrown his way to be completed. He allowed 2 touchdown passes against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6 and was a big reason Seattle lost a close game. Woolen had been a solid and aggressive tackler in 2022, but he appeared afraid to hit ball carriers hard for most of 2023 and whiffed on 20 percent of his tackle attempts.
If Woolen can manage to get close to his 2022 level moving forward, whoever the new Seahawks defensive coordinator is in 2024 and beyond could have two very good cornerbacks (Woolen and Devon Witherspoon) to build the backend of the defense around. But if Woolen continues to play as he did this season, he could have a difficult time of ever being a starter again.