Ht – 6’4” Wt – 205lb Class – SR Age – 22
Fluidity – Extremely fluid and smooth player. Woolen flips his hips with ease and hardly takes extra steps. When playing off-coverage, he can twist and stay always facing the receiver, regardless of the route break.
Press – Great press ability due to his physicality, but his technique could use refinement. At times, he can completely take away receivers and wipe them from the play with a devastating press. Other times, he will attempt a press and then get blown past by a good release.
Ball Skills – Subpar. This is very odd, considering his background as a receiver. He showed a struggle to turn around and locate the ball while sticking to a receiver. However, he has a phenomenal ability to get his hands in the “breadbasket” and break up passes at the last second.
Man Coverage – Woolen has an outstanding mirroring ability and stickiness. Using his great fluidity and speed, he has no problem sticking with any receivers. The problem arises when the ball is in the air. His ball tracking ability is good, but he struggles to locate the ball while continuing to mirror the receiver. While this didn’t lead to many penalties in the C-USA, I think it will be a bit more problematic at the NFL level.
Zone Coverage – Good ability to read the QB, but his reaction time isn’t ideal. Additionally, while he has explosive top-end speed, his burst and acceleration are below-average. Pairing those two traits leads to him reaching the ball late on many pass attempts.
Length – Unreal and unmatched. The tall Cornerbacks are generally about 6’2”, but Woolen stands at a whopping 6’4”, with nearly a 79” wingspan (2nd largest among Cornerbacks). He uses his great length to be a master pass defender, getting his long arms into the chest of the receivers with ease.
Tackling – Woolen plays with great physicality, and he is a very willing tackler. However, he is an inconsistent finisher. Wrapping up isn’t his strong suit, and he got juked multiple times.
Combine – Woolen had a Combine for the ages. After boasting his elite height-weight-length measurables, he jumped out of the stadium with a Combine leading 42” Vertical jump. He then set fire to the turf with his blazing 4.26 40, also among the best in the Combine. The physical tools are unmatched and undeniable.
Tariq Woolen is one of the rarest prospects in this draft, who oddly isn’t a projected Day 1 pick, and possibly not even a Day 2 pick. His blend of raw athleticism combined with his unmatched size at the Cornerback position is fascinating. It’s rare to see a Corner who is about the height of Mike Evans. No receiver will be a height mismatch for him.
While his physical tools are enticing, his rawness to playing defense is apparent. After attending UTSA as a receiver in his first 3 seasons, he converted to Corner before starting for the Roadrunners for 2 more seasons.
This unfamiliarity with defense was clear as day on tape. He still struggles to truly grasp zone concepts, and his ability to turn his head when breaking up passes in man coverage is just plain bad. Across the map, his technique needs improvement. Still, the raw physical tools are too enticing to pass up. I think he could even sneak his way into the end of the 1st round.
See Tariq Woolen’s overall ranking among other players on my Big Board.