The Seahawks doubled up on cornerbacks on Day 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft, selecting Tariq Woolen out of Texas-San Antonio with their fifth-round pick (153 overall) one round after taking Cincinnati’s Coby Bryant.
Woolen, who began his college career as a receiver, brings to Seattle some very rare physical traits for a cornerback. Standing 6-foot-4 and measuring 210 pounds, Woolen has the long arms teams love from a cornerback, measuring at 33 5/8 inches, and he ran a blazing 4.26-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.
After catching 24 passes for 263 yards in his first two seasons as a receiver, Woolen moved to cornerback and started seven games in 2022, recording 35 tackles, one interception and four pass breakups. Last year, Woolen earned honorable mention All-Conference USA honors despite missing four games due to a hand injury, and recorded 25 tackles, one interception and five pass breakups.
Given his height, status as a fifth-round pick, and background as a receiver-turned-cornerback, Woolen couldn't help but acknowledge the comparisons to Richard Sherman, 2011 fifth-round pick out of Stanford who became one of the best defensive players of his era.
"Richard used to play receiver, and came in and played cornerback," Woolen said. "I had met with the Seahawks at the NFL Combine, I had a formal meeting with them. We just talked, and (Seahawks coach Pete Carroll) was just talking about how he had coached Richard, and how he was a receiver and corner, and how I had made the transition, too."
And seeing as he is new to the position, only beginning the transition in 2019 and making it permanent in 2020, Woolen believes his best football is still ahead of him.
"I feel like the best is yet to come," he said. "I know that under a great coaching staff I can become a great player. I'm already a good player but I feel like I can be great. There is stuff I have to work on and there is stuff I'm good at. I want to work on both of them. That's what makes a great player. I just want to go there and have fun and be a great player."
As for that unbelievable 40 time at the combine, Woolen said, "It was pretty crazy. When I got the official time, I was like, 'Dang!' It didn't even feel real. I was just glad a person of my size could go out there and make history somewhat."
Take a look at cornerback Tariq Woolen during his time at UTSA. Woolen was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the 5th round, No. 153 overall, in the 2022 NFL Draft.