If not for Sauce Gardner, a case could’ve been made for Tariq Woolen being the best rookie cornerback in the league. Despite being a fifth-round pick, Woolen came in third place in the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award voting and even received one first-place vote.
Woolen was a vital part of the Seattle Seahawks’ secondary in 2022. He emerged as one of the best cornerbacks in football and helped the Seahawks clinch a playoff berth.
But as the Seahawks move through their offseason workout schedule and look to get ready for the season, they’ll be without Woolen for a while.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Tuesday that Woolen underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and that he is expected to be sidelined until training camp. According to Schefter, Woolen injured his knee while walking on the practice field for OTAs just a week ago.
Tariq Woolen injured his knee while walking on the practice field for OTA’s one week ago. Doctors reviewed the injury and Woolen underwent surgery today in Houston, which went as well as doctors could have hoped, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 23, 2023
The news of Woolen’s surgery was originally met with a lot of angst, but once fans realized the recovery timeline puts him on track for training camp, they were suddenly relieved.
Woolen was T-1st in the NFL w/ 6 interceptions last season, as many as the Giants and Raiders had as a unit. Hopefully comes back strong https://t.co/rUx9aMpyqa
— Brad Spielberger, Esq. (@PFF_Brad) May 23, 2023
I saw the photo before I read the copy and got so scared. 😅 https://t.co/euDqGEC9PZ
— Haley (@haeklund) May 23, 2023
Interesting to see if knee injury affects Tariq's availability into the regular season. https://t.co/Rp0VJZUeEO
— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) May 23, 2023
The second-year cornerback out of UTSA had a huge year for Seattle in 2022. Woolen was tied for the league lead with six interceptions— as many as the New York Giants and Las Vegas Raiders had as a unit— while also recording 16 passes defended, 63 total tackles, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries.
Teams are going to be cautious with players during off-season workouts, especially when those players have secured roster spots. If Woolen’s ready for training camp, this injury will be nothing more than a speedbump, and a fairly minor one, at that. If, however, this is something that lingers, it could be a huge factor for Seattle.
[Adam Schefter; photo from Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports]