2022 NFL Draft: Tariq Woolen Scouting Report

Tariq Woolen NFL Draft

Tariq Woolen NFL Draft Overview

Position: Defensive Back
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 205 pounds
School: UTSA

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Tariq Woolen 2022 NFL Draft Profile

Tariq Woolen, as a prospect, is one of the most interesting when it comes to the 2022 NFL draft. A 3-star recruit in the class of 2017 out of Arlington Heights HS in Fort Worth, TX, Woolen was recruited as a wide receiver. At 6’5”, 205 pounds, Woolen showed easy speed and raw athleticism. However, he needed some development from whatever coaching staff he decided to play for if he was to make a lasting impression at the next level. Ultimately, he stayed close to home and played for the UTSA Roadrunners. 

At UTSA, he started his career with two years of lackluster performance at the wide receiver position. He finished his sophomore season with one touchdown and struggled to see the field more than a couple of times a game in his first two years. Seeing Woolen struggling at receiver, UTSA head coach Frank Wilson decided to use the Fort Worth product elsewhere. He transitioned to the cornerback position and immediately showed his impact on the defensive side of the football. Woolen accumulated 62 total tackles, one-and-a-half sacks, two interceptions, and 11 pass breakups in his final two seasons.

Strengths

  • Freakish athleticism;
  • Elite speed. Long arms;
  • Plays through the hands of the receiver very well;
  • Physical play throughout the route;
  • Tough as nails. Played and got an interception with a cast on.

Weaknesses

  • Only has played the position for two years;
  • Inconsistent as a tackler;
  • Hips are stiff when in man coverage;
  • Inconsistent in zone coverage. Falls for eye candy easily;
  • Does not look comfortable playing the position yet.

NFL Comparison: Less polished, more athletic Kevin King

Teams with needs at the position: Baltimore RavensBuffalo BillsHouston TexansKansas City ChiefsNew England PatriotsArizona CardinalsMinnesota VikingsPhiladelphia Eagles

Projection: Late 2nd Round to Early 3rd Round 

Bottom Line on Tariq Woolen

When playing Bailey Zappe and Western Kentucky’s high-powered offense, Woolen struggled. They put his inexperience at the defensive back position to the test. Showing him various looks after the ball was snapped, they attacked Woolen more than most teams did throughout the season. Not to say that Woolen did not have a good game, especially with his inexperience. But it is a testament to how far he still has to go as far as understanding the game from the opposite side of the ball.

His backpedal and footwork do not look comfortable to him yet, and neither do his hips. When he turns to run with receivers, there is a slight hitch that puts him in a trail position rather than on a receiver’s hips.

But the bottom line is, with all of these deficiencies in his game, there has never been a prospect like this before. He has a frame that we have not seen before at the cornerback position, not with this type of elite speed and explosiveness. Let’s hope that wherever he goes, they are able to mold him and make him more comfortable at the cornerback position. Hopefully, they can teach him how to have these elite traits transfer to his play on the field. If they can, there is no doubt that we may very well see a star in the making.

 

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