The Seattle Seahawks need to fix several issues to make 2022 a successful season. Drafting cornerback Tariq Woolen might help fix the secondary.
Two of the Seahawks 2021 corners who actually played decently – D.J. Reed and Sidney Jones – are both free agents. Jones isn’t likely to draw lots of interest from other teams but Reed might and he probably should. Since coming to Seattle halfway through 2020, Reed has been a top-25 cornerback in the NFL.
Seattle will hopefully have Tre Brown return at some point in 2022. Brown was a rookie last year but then got injured late in the year after just beginning to show he could be starter-worthy. Brown may not be ready for Week 1 in 2022.
While this article is about Tariq Woolen, I should say I do not expect Woolen to be a starter at the beginning of 2022 either. Woolen is likely too raw of a prospect to contribute right away. With his size and athleticism, if Woolen’s technique was much better Seattle would never have a chance to take him because Woolen would have first-round potential.
Tariq Woolen could be a Round 2 steal for the Seattle Seahawks
But if this were 2013, Woolen would be a perfect specimen physically of a Seahawks corner. He is nearly 6’4″ and 210 pounds and has long arms (33 1/2″). And while this isn’t 2013, Pete Carroll is still the Seahawks head coach and would probably like to have a few more big corners. Woolen can play the way Carroll likes: He can be physical at the line of scrimmage and use his length to bat passes away.
But Woolen really impressed with his speed during Senior Bowl week. He had the top measured max speed (22.45 MPH) of any other player regardless of position. Woolen has also been timed at 4.34 in the 40.
There is no doubt to Woolen’s physical gifts but the reason he was originally expected to be a Day 3 pick but has since moved up on some boards into Round 2 is that he just lacks experience against high-level competition (Woolen played at the smaller University of Texas-San Antonio) and isn’t a sure first-rounder is that he will need time to learn how to be an NFL cornerback.
Woolen started as a receiver in college and only transitioned to cornerback as a junior. Two seasons at a school that doesn’t consistently play top college teams likely means Woolen isn’t ready to play against the Cooper Kupps of the world.
But by 2023, Woolen could be a starter and has the physical skills to be a very good cornerback. In fact, his skills might allow Pete Carroll to use his corners in press coverage the way Seattle used to play.