Tariq Woolen, a shining piece amongst a struggling defense, continues to impress. Woolen has progressed from a fifth-round pick to potential rookie of the year candidate.
Seahawks – Tariq Woolen by the Numbers
Tariq Woolen did not come from pedigree or a blue-blood school. He emerged with relatively unimpressive stats from UTSA, not exactly a school known for producing NFL players. He immediately turned heads at the combine with a 4.26 40-yard dash – tied for third-fastest time ever and the fastest by a player over six feet tall. At six foot four inches, Woolen was an obvious choice for Pete Carroll and a Seahawks defense that loves lengthy cornerbacks.
Through seven games, Woolen is tied for first in the league with four interceptions. He also boasts 20 solo tackles and six passes defended. There’s no escaping that the Seattle defense has underwhelmed and contributed to losses this year. However, while the rush defense is 30th in the NFL, the pass defense is currently at 23rd. The stellar play of Tariq Woolen and other young defensive backs have certainly contributed to this improvement.
Shades of Richard Sherman?
A repeated storyline this year, but it seems to be very apt. Woolen and Sherman were drafted in eerily close positions, both in the fifth round (Woolen 153rd overall and Sherman 154th overall). Both cornerbacks are close in height with Tariq at six foot four inches and Sherman at six foot three inches. The two corners have very similar interception numbers comparing their rookie seasons at this point of the year.
Richard Sherman posted a 4.56 at his combine. Woolen, however, has dominant speed. Being sub-4.3 40 yard-dash, having a frame taller and longer than most wide receivers is something like a cornerback built out of a factory. If he can continue to study the game, increase his football IQ and create turnovers, he should win rookie of the year. And beyond that, be a staple of the young Seahawks defense going into the future.
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