3 Seattle Seahawks players who cannot afford to regress in 2023
By Lee Vowell
Tariq Woolen - Seattle Seahawks cornerback
Woolen had all the physical freakishness to be a good corner in the NFL when he came out of college in 2022 and the Seahawks took him in the fifth round of last year's draft. As it turns out, he turned into a good corner immediately and made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season. Woolen tied for the league lead in interceptions with 6 and had a quarterback rating allowed of just 48.7. So, I take back what I said. Woolen wasn't merely good in 2022, he was great.
But now Seattle is counting on him to be a great corner for the foreseeable future. The drawback is now NFL offensive coordinators and quarterbacks have a year of tape to watch on him and expose any weaknesses. The argument could be made this already started to happen near the end of last year.
In his first four games of 2022, Woolen had 4 interceptions. After Week 6, he only had 2 more. Woolen also got played a bit on crossing routes when he seemed to loose his man and Seattle had a breakdown in communication. Woolen has abundant raw skill, but he still needs to know how the rest of the defense is operating on every single play.
Woolen is also expected to be on one side of the field while 2023 draftee Devon Witherspoon holds down the other side. Witherspoon should be very good, but he is also a rookie and like all rookies will make mistakes. Woolen needs to know the nuances of what is happening as a play unfolds to help Witherspoon. Woolen can do it, but for Seattle to be better defensively in 2023, he must do it (assuming he bounces back from a recent injury quickly).