RENTON, Wash. - The Seattle Seahawks selected UT-San Antonio cornerback Tariq Woolen and Ohio State defensive end Tyreke Smith in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.
Seattle traded down from their initial selection at No. 145 overall and picked up an extra seventh-round pick, No. 233, in the process. When they went back on the clock at pick No. 158, they took Woolen, who earned the nickname "Riq the Freak" for his outstanding athleticism.
At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Woolen ran a 4.26-yard 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in February, which is tied for the fifth-fastest mark in history.
Woolen, who turns 23 on Monday, began his career at UT-San Antonio as a wide receiver before transitioning to cornerback late in the 2019 season. Woolen said he wasn't initially in favor of making the switch but grew to love the position during his final two years with the team.
"I ended up falling in love with it and honing in on my craft," he said.
"Seeing myself get better each week. As a human, it feels good to see yourself get better. To watch myself get better each week, and from season to season, that’s what made me fall in love with the position even more."
Richard Sherman was a fifth round pick and a former receiver that had made the transition to cornerback in college. Now Woolen if a fifth round pick to Seattle following in his footsteps.
"It's just crazy to be in kind of the same footsteps as him. Now it’s what I do when I get there," Woolen said.
Woolen racked up 60 tackles with two interceptions and 11 passes defended during his two full seasons on defense.
Woolen is still learning the position and will need to develop at the next level. But his size and speed bring ideal traits for the position.
"I feel like the best is yet to come," Woolen 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."
Smith, 22, was a three-year starter at Ohio State at left defensive end. He battled injuries throughout his college tenure that limited his availability and production. In 10 games played as a senior, Smith had 26 tackles with five for loss and three sacks. He also had a forced fumble.
"I definitely feel like what makes me so good is my motor, just how I am all throughout the game," Smith said. "I’m just always attacking pass rushing wise and I feel like I am quick off of the ball and my get off gives me the upper hand over my opponents. I feel like that’s what helps me the most to be dominant."
Smith said the Seahawks told him they see him as a stand-up outside linebacker in their scheme.
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 01: Cameron Rising #7 of the Utah Utes throws a pass as Tyreke Smith #11 of the Ohio State Buckeyes pressures him during the first half in the Rose Bowl Game at Rose Bowl Stadium on January 01, 2022 in Pasadena, Califor
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