BROCK AND SALK

Huard: How Seahawks rookie CB Tariq Woolen led the NFL in a key stat

Jan 12, 2023, 1:16 PM

Seattle 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 sure found themselves a player in the fifth round of last year’s NFL Draft.

Pete Carroll previews Seahawks’ playoff matchup vs rival 49ers

Cornerback Tariq Woolen, the 153rd overall pick last April, has turned out to be an absolute steal for the Seahawks.

Despite having an incredible mix of size, length and speed, Woolen slipped to the fifth round before Seattle drafted him. He was seen as a very raw prospect who’d need time to refine his play before taking the field.

Instead, Woolen was a Week 1 starter for the Seahawks. Not only that, but he wound up starting every game for Seattle and recording six interceptions (tied for the NFL lead) and 16 pass breakups and earning a Pro Bowl nod.

Seahawks fans know all about Woolen’s elite production in terms of playing the ball, but how about this: Woolen led the NFL in passer rating allowed at just 48.7 this year, per Pro Football Reference. For context, passer rating when spiking the football is 39.6.

So how did Woolen end up with the lowest passer rating allowed in the NFL as a rookie? Former NFL quarterback Brock Huard breaks it down during Thursday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

“The reason why Tariq Woolen is No. 1 in the league is because QBs have learned over the course of watching tape and playing this season that throw that I should be able to make when that corner is five yards off in that zone coverage, I can (usually) make that throw, but Tariq Woolen with 4.2 speed and 6-foot-4 length gets to it,” Huard told co-host Mike Salk. “That’s why he’s No. 1, because he actually played to his speed this year.”

Huard said that every single year at the NFL Scouting Combine, players run the 40-yard dash and analysts such as NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah say something to the extent of, “you’re not supposed to be able to do that.”

Woolen was one of those players as he measured in at 6-4 with 34-inch arms and then ran a blazing 4.26-second 40-yard dash. And unlike some of those other combine standouts, Woolen’s speed has translated onto the field.

“That was the most amazing thing about Tariq Woolen this year and why he was No. 1 (in opponent passer rating) is his speed translated,” Huard said.

But it goes beyond just physical traits and ability for Woolen.

“The information in the formation, big part of it,” he said. “Seeing it beforehand, but then also in real time. Reacting, being coached up, being developed to ‘Hey, here’s the concepts coming at you, now go pull the trigger,’ and boy did he ever,” Huard said.

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

Seahawks’ Kenneth Walker III could be difference this time vs 49ers

Brock and Salk podcast

Brock and Salk

...

Seattle Sports Video

Video: Casey Sadler on injuries during his Major League Baseball career, the importance of mental health

What did former Seattle Mariners pitcher Casey Sadler have to say about his time in Seattle when he joined Mike Salk? How important is mental health and the focus on it in today’s game of baseball? He answers that and much more in his conversation on the Brock and Salk show. Is he still ready […]

12 hours ago

Seattle Mariners prospect Jonny Farmelo...

Zac Hereth

A surprising Mariners prospect Jeff Passan would avoid trading

ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan says outfielder Jonny Farmelo is a Seattle Mariners prospect he be wary of trading away.

1 day ago

Seattle Mariners trade target Luis Robert Jr....

Zac Hereth

Does a Luis Robert trade make sense for Mariners? Passan explains

Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert's name has come up as a trade candidate for the Seattle Mariners. Insider Jeff Passan weighs in.

2 days ago

...

Seattle Sports Video

Video: Seattle Mariners legend Jay Buhner talks about the return of Buhner Buzz night, the ’24 Mariners

What did Seattle Mariners legend Jay Buhner have to say about the return of Buhner Buzz night? What does he think about this 2024 version of the Mariners? He joined Brock Huard and Mike Salk to talk about that and what it means to bring back on of the fan favorite events from the 90’s. […]

2 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Ryan Grubb OTAs 2024...

Cameron Van Til

How will new Seahawks OC Grubb need to adjust playbook for NFL?

Brock Huard explains how new Seattle Seahawks OC Ryan Grubb might need to adjust his playbook as he transitions from college to the NFL.

3 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Jaxon Smith-Njigba 49ers 2023...

Cameron Van Til

What would breakout year from Seahawks’ JSN look like?

If Seattle Seahawks WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba has a breakout season, what would that look like? Former NFL wideout Michael Bumpus weighs in.

3 days ago

Huard: How Seahawks rookie CB Tariq Woolen led the NFL in a key stat