Seahawks’ Smith, Woolen, Diggs and Myers earn Pro Bowl nods
Despite some major turnover for the Seahawks this past offseason, they’ve been more successful than expected in 2022 thanks to some great performances across the team. On Wednesday, four players were rewarded for their play with 2023 Pro Bowl nods.
Quarterback Geno Smith and rookie cornerback Tariq Woolen each earned their first Pro Bowl berth while kicker Jason Myers earned his second and safety Quandre Diggs has earned his third. Myers and Diggs were named starters.
Here’s the details on each Seahawks Pro Bowl player.
One of the best stories in the NFL this year has been Smith, who became the Seahawks’ starting quarterback after the team traded Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos this past offseason.
Smith, a 2013 second-round pick, started two seasons for the New York Jets before being a backup from 2015-2021. That included the 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons in Seattle, where he was behind Wilson on the depth chart.
But Smith re-signed with the Seahawks this offseason after Wilson was traded and wound up earning the starting job. And while there were little to no expectations for Smith from fans and analysts, he’s been one of the league’s best quarterbacks this season.
Smith leads the NFL in completion percentage at 71.4% and he’s the only starting quarterback in the league completing more than 70% of his passes. Smith also rankes seventh in yards (3,671) and fourth in touchdowns (26) while throwing eight interceptions.
Geno ➡️ DK = CLUTCH 🤑
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 5, 2022
And while the Seahawks have lost four of their last five, they’ve still won seven games and have a chance at an NFC Wild Card berth. Even if they miss the playoffs, Smith has led the Seahawks to more wins than nearly anyone expected.
Back in 2011, the Seahawks struck gold in the fifth round at cornerback in Stanford’s Richard Sherman. It appears they’ve done so again this year in UTSA’s Tariq Woolen.
It’s hard not to see the similarities between Sherman and Woolen. Both are tall, lengthy cornerbacks who were drafted in the fifth round by Seattle after starting their college careers at wide receiver. Woolen was the 153rd overall pick this year while Sherman was picked 154th overall back in 2011. And now, Woolen his first Pro Bowl nod as he tries to match Sherman’s five.
But Woolen did something Sherman didn’t – he started Week 1 as a rookie. Woolen has started every game for the Seahawks at outside cornerback and has thrived in a big way.
The tall rookie has six interceptions on the year, tied for the NFL lead. Those six picks are also a Seahawks rookie record. Woolen also returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown and has 13 pass breakups, two fumble recoveries, and blocked a field goal that fellow cornerback Michael Jackson returned for a touchdown. He also has an opponent passer rating of just 53.3 when targeted, per Pro Football Reference.
IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW, TARIQ WOOLEN IS VERY FAST!
HIS FIRST TOUCHDOWN OF HIS CAREER!
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 2, 2022
Woolen is seen as one of the frontrunners for Defensive Rookie of the Year along with fellow Pro Bowl cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, the No. 4 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Woolen is the first Seahawks rookie defender to make the Pro Bowl since linebacker Lofa Tatupu in 2005.
With Bobby Wagner released this past offseason, a big question with the Seahawks was who’d take over as the leader on defense.
Seattle rolled out two defensive captains this year in Diggs and defensive tackle Al Woods.
For Diggs, he has two interceptions this season, giving him multiple interceptions in each of the last six seasons. He came to Seattle via trade in 2019 and has 15 interceptions in a Seahawks uniform.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) November 27, 2022
Diggs has also recorded 65 tackles, five pass deflections, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit and a forced fumble this season at the free safety spot.
In addition to his play on the field, Diggs has been a key part in helping Woolen and fellow rookie defensive back Coby Bryant as they play their first NFL seasons.
After a rocky 2021 season that saw him make just 73.9% of his field goals a year after making all 24 tries, Myers has been one of the best kickers in the league this season.
Myers has made 26 of his 27 field goal opportunities in 2022, including a long of 56. He’s also been stellar with extra points, making 37 of 38. His 96.3% field goal percentage is tops in the league this season.