Seahawks rookie CB Tariq Woolen doing “next level” stuff

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

Most of the Seahawks rookie class in 2022 has been very good. Some players, like Boye Mafe, are improving with each week. But no Seattle rookie, or maybe any defensive rookie in the NFL, has been better than cornerback Tariq Woolen.

Woolen wasn’t really expected to battle for a starting spot right away. He had transitioned to corner as a junior in college and didn’t play a lot of high-level competition. Woolen had elite size and speed but would that ever cross over into NFL success?

But Woolen succeeded quickly. He already has 4 interceptions and is allowing a quarterback rating when targeted of an extremely low 47.1. He has allowed 18 completions in 34 attempts, defended 7 passes and allowed just 1 touchdown. To make him even more Richard Sherman-like, though, he has been great at tackling people and is credited with just one missed tackle.

Tariq Woolen is quickly becoming the Seahawks next great cornerback

Woolen has been so good he won the NFC Defensive Rookie of the Month for October. He was one of three Seahawks to win a major award for October as this surprising team starts to earn some accolades. But he isn’t just playing well for a rookie; He is playing fantastically compared to any other cornerback.

Per theScore’s Jordan Schultz, who spoke with an NFL general manager, Woolen makes “really tough plays that are next level for a veteran, let alone a rookie.” Maybe this is partly due to how quickly Woolen seems to learn from his mistakes. In Week 1 against the Broncos, Woolen was called for pass interference early in the game on a deep pass. Woolen didn’t turn his body around to try to defend the pass. But when Denver quarterback Russell Wilson tried the same exact throw against Woolen later, Woolen played the ball perfectly and forced an incompletion.

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Woolen has all the physical skills to be great. But he is showing very early in his career that he has the intelligence to make changes to how he is covering in-game. Woolen appears to be the Seahawks latest fifth-round steal. Thankfully, he will be making high-impact plays for the Seahawks for seasons to come.