Carroll: How Seahawks rookies have performed through first 2 weeks

Sep 19, 2022, 12:21 PM

Seahawks Ken Walker...

Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker III runs during warmups at Levi's Stadium on Sept. 18. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

A big storyline with the 2022 Seahawks is the play of their rookie class, which was highly-touted both immediately after April’s draft as well as throughout the offseason.

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So far through two games, we’ve seen six of the nine-man class play meaningful snaps and make plays.

While discussing his team’s 27-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll talked about the play of many of his rookies during The Pete Carroll Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

The offensive line will be watched closely as the Seahawks have two rookie tackles starting in first-round left tackle Charles Cross and third-round right tackle Abraham Lucas. How are they doing so far?

“Charles is getting going. He’s finding some consistency with so much room for improvement,” Carroll said. “We’re so excited about what he can do to get better, but he’s holding up.”

He held up well against a tough 49ers defensive front that has one of the best edge rushers in football in All-Pro Nick Bosa.

“That was a hard game and a tough attack. And he’s going to need it because we’ve got other teams that are going to be loaded up, too. But he had a good solid game,
Carroll said of Cross. “He got knocked back a few times into the quarterback, but basically survived well and did OK. When they had the big bomber over there and Bosa was on his side, he made it through a few times, as did Abe on the other side.”

Lucas “did a really nice job” for the Seahawks in Week 2, Carroll said.

“He made a few mistakes in this game that he hasn’t made the whole preseason or in the first game. So he was a little screwed up on some stuff, and he just won’t make those mistakes consistently again. He’s better than that,” Carroll said. “But he really physically held up well and he had Nick a lot and did a nice job on it for the most part.”

Sunday was also the NFL debut of second-round running back Ken Walker III, who had six total touches on just 12 offensive snaps. Carroll wants to see more of the rookie back going forward.

“Doggone it, we didn’t get to see him (enough). We will see him. It’ll happen,” Carroll said. “We didn’t make enough space for him. He’s going to be an exciting football player for us. I really like him.”

And what about on defense?

Two rookies stood out in positive ways against the 49ers in second-round rusher Boye Mafe and fifth-round cornerback Tariq Woolen, who has started both games for the Seahawks.

For Mafe, he picked up his first NFL sack while playing on 30% of the Seahawks’ defensive snaps. Expect that snap share to go up.

“He did well again. He got to the quarterback and he made a couple of nice plays,” Carroll said. “He’s playing really strong. He’s a good athlete. He’s fast. He needs to play more, and we will play him more as we’re going. He’s given us reason to. He’s a really exciting guy. He’s got a tremendous upside.”

As for Woolen, he helped provide the Seahawks’ lone points of the day when he blocked a field goal that fellow corner Michael Jackson returned for a touchdown.

“Shoot man, he knocked a touchdown for us down on the ground. Great play by those two guys and Michael Jackson finishing it,” Carroll said.

Woolen is known for his height (6 foot 4), length (33 5/8-inch arms) and blazing speed (4.26-second 40-yard dash), but his physicality has stood out to his head coach.

“I don’t know if you noticed the tackle that he made on (49ers receiver) Deebo (Samuel) when Deebo broke (a big run). That guy is an asset on our football team to keep a lot of plays from being touchdowns, that’s for sure,” Carroll said. “He played well again and did a nice job. He had a couple fits in the running game and he just continues to gain more confidence.”

Both Woolen and Jackson “are covering guys” but need to tone down the penalties, Carroll said.

“We’re getting in trouble with some (pass interference calls) right now and they’ll learn how to be more poised in the moment and clean those things up,” Carroll said. “But it’s because they’re right on guys is why that’s happening. (Woolen is) doing a nice job.”

Listen to the Pete Carroll Show at this link or in the player below.

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