HOF CB Charles Woodson: How Seahawks rookie Tariq Woolen is ‘holding his own’

Nov 11, 2022, 4:13 PM

Seahawks Tariq Woolen...

Tariq Woolen of the Seattle Seahawks reacts against the New York Giants at Lumen Field on October 30, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seahawks’ 2022 rookie class has turned heads across the football world this season and the play of those rookies is a big reason why Seattle enters Week 10 at 6-3 and in first place in the NFC West.

Perhaps the best rookie on the team so far is cornerback Tariq Woolen, a fifth-round pick out of UTSA who is tied for second in the NFL in interceptions with four, and who has started every game for the Seahawks so far.

Seahawks Football 101: Star rookie Tariq Woolen up to the challenge

Woolen’s play caught the eye of one of the greatest cornerbacks in NFL history, too.

“Tariq Woolen is that deal,” NFL Hall of Famer and current FOX analyst Charles Woodson tweeted during Seattle’s win over the Arizona Cardinals.

So what is Woodson seeing out of Woolen so far this season? He joined Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Brock and Salk on Thursday.

“It’s funny because he reminds me of a couple of guys that they had there before,” he said.


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The two names that came to mind were Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, both of whom were tall and long cornerbacks like Woolen. Sherman is a future Hall of Famer who, like Woolen, was initially a receiver in college.

“Those tall corners, it seems like Pete Carroll likes those type of corners,” Woodson said.

What Woolen does a very good job of already, Woodson said, is keeping himself “in phase.”

“What I mean by that is being in a position to either make the tackle as soon as the catch is made or be in a position to knock the ball down or go for the interception … and he seems to do that more often than not,” he said. “And for a young guy coming in learning the game, learning how the offense is trying to attack you, especially being a young guy, man, he’s holding his own out there, man. It’s fun to watch.”

While Woolen may have similar body types to Sherman and Browner, neither had his level of speed, which was clocked at 4.26 seconds in the 40-yard dash. What does having that type of speed do for a cornerback?

“The thing for him is downfield, he’s gonna be able to run and play with anybody, whether you’re a tall guy or short receiver, it doesn’t matter,” Woodson said. “Once he gets going, he’s going to be a guy that can keep up with anybody down the field running fade routes, and I was watching earlier and he was running on a post route, but he was over top. He’s gonna be able to run with just about anybody out there on the field.”

Woolen will have a big test this Sunday when the Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off in Germany. That means Woolen goes head-to-head with Tom Brady.

Woodson offered some advice for Woolen going up against the greatest of all time.

“Go out there and execute the game plan. Do not look across that field and look and say, ‘Oh, man, that’s Tom Brady!’ No, he’s got to be another guy,” Woodson said. “He’s got to be the opponent. It’s the guys who go out there and do that and just try to take care of what they have to take care of as players that are gonna be good.”

Listen to the third hour of Thursday’s Brock and Salk at this link or in the player below.

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