K.J. Wright: Why it’s important for Seahawks to play Woolen, other rookies

Sep 8, 2022, 9:02 AM

Seahawks Tariq Woolen...

Seahawks CB Tariq Woolen tackles the Bears' Nsimba Webster on the 3-yard-line on Thursday. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seahawks’ best run in franchise history came in the early- and mid-2010s with the emergence of the Legion of Boom defense, a powerful running game and quarterback Russell Wilson running the show.

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That combination resulted in two Seattle Super Bowl appearances and one championship.

Something that was a big part in the Seahawks’ success during that time was the team regularly playing younger players, especially rookies.

That hasn’t been as much of the case in recent years, but it looks like the team will be getting back to that in 2022. It’s something former Hawks linebacker K.J. Wright, who started 12 games as a rookie in 2011, is hopeful for this upcoming season.

Wright, who hosts The K.J. Wright Show every Wednesday on Seattle Sports 710 AM with Brock and Salk, explained what he’s looking for with the Seahawks and their rookies this season.

First off, why is playing rookies so important?

“When you look at rookies, obviously there’s going to be some learning curves. They’re going to do some dumb stuff. They’re going to mess up, jump offsides, get a bunch of holding (calls),” he said. “But let these guys grow into themselves. I started as a rookie – started my first game. Bobby (Wagner) played as a rookie (and was) phenomenal … The list goes on and on. So rookies, that’s what they are. They’re young, a little immature, but they’re going to grow and provide a lot and contribute to these wins on Sundays.”

Wright thinks it’s especially important for the Seahawks to play rookies this season considering where the franchise is at after moving on from Wilson and Wagner this offseason.

“Here’s the thing: If we’re going to start over, if we want to hit the reset button, let’s hit the reset button,” he said. “Let’s start over and let’s get these guys out here to get this new regime, this new generation going.”

Wright thinks the Seahawks will start two rookies on the offensive line in first-round pick Charles Cross and third-rounder Abraham Lucas. He also thinks fourth-round defensive back Coby Bryant will have a key role in 2022, also.

Wright is also very high on fifth-round cornerback Tariq Woolen, who he thinks should be a Week 1 starter on the outside of Seattle’s defense.

“He’s super, super talented,” he said. “This is a guy that could be a game-changer for your defense.”

Playing Woolen right away would send a clear message, Wright said.

“When you put him out there, you’re saying, ‘Hey, I see a lot in this guy,'” he said. “This man is extremely fast. He’s extremely savvy. He has extremely great ball skills. I need a guy out there that can go out there and cover some really good receivers.”

“Will he get get routed up here and there? Absolutely,” Wright added. “But I bet you he’s gonna make a play here and there throughout the game. So get him out there and pair him with Sidney Jones, let those two guys go out there and start at corner, put Quandre (Diggs) and Jamal (Adams) on the back end and ride out and let’s go play some ball.”

Listen to the full K.J. Wright Show at this link or in the player below.

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