Seattle Rookie CB Tariq Woolen Embracing Challenge of Covering Seahawks' Receivers – Sports Illustrated

When cornerback Tariq Woolen fell to the Seattle Seahawks in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, there was no way they would let him fall any further. 
Now, as Woolen prepares for his rookie season, he is doing so against some of the fastest receivers in the NFL. However, competing against guys like DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Marquise Goodwin has only helped increase his confidence. 
"Whenever you look at a player that’s a great cornerback at practice they go against great receivers," Woolen said. "So going against DK (Metcalf), Tyler Lockett, Marquise (Goodwin), all those guys … on Sundays it’ll make it a lot easier so just going against them has been a lot of help.”
He showed flashes of elite talent in his final season as a UTSA Roadrunner, which was just Woolen's second season transitioning from receiver to cornerback. He would finish the season with 25 total tackles, one interception, and five pass deflections. 
What really put Woolen on the map was his blazing speed, recording a 4.26 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, a trait that Woolen believes sets him up for the NFL. 
"I just feel like speed is my greatest asset. I ran track my whole life. I played football my whole life," Woolen said. "I just feel like all that speed has carried over throughout the years and now I can show it to the world and show it to my teammates too."
"It’s pretty cool being the fast guy on the team and being able to run with an Olympian like Marquise Goodwin and a stallion like DK Metcalf, so it feels good to be able to keep up with those guys.”
However, despite Woolen's speed, he knows that covering someone like Goodwin is a different animal and a challenge he has embraced throughout training camp. 
“I just know against him, I’ve got to get on my high horse because I am a fast guy too, but that dude is a different speed too," Woolen said. "So going against him I just try to make sure I stay disciplined to my technique and try to get my hands on him too because I’ve got long arms.”
As Woolen prepares for his rookie season as a member of the Seahawks, it's safe to say he has embraced the challenge of guarding his teammates. Competing against the talented Seahawks' receiver group will only make his life on Sundays easier, whenever Woolen gets a chance to leave his mark on the field. 
You can find Connor Zimmerlee on Twitter @Connorjz98
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