The Seattle Seahawks have never had a defensive Rookie of the Year player.
Tariq Woolen has undoubtedly emerged as a 2022 frontrunner, and his counterpart Coby Bryant has had a remarkable turnaround following his opening struggles.
Coby Bryant leads the NFL with 4 forced fumbles.— Cigar Thoughts (@CigarThoughts) October 16, 2022
Tariq Woolen leads the NFL with 4 takeaways.
On a day when Charles Cross wasn’t the star, Abraham Lucas held his own and Kenneth Walker ran extremely well, John Schneider looks to have grandly larcened the 2022 draft.
The two stud corners didn’t come out of the gates hot, with blown plays and penalties against the Denver Broncos in Week 1.
Five weeks later, the pace that they are on is historic.
Woolen has four interceptions in six games; a pace for 11 picks this year. The NFL record for a rookie is 14, by somebody named Night Train Lane in 1952. I apologize for those of you reading this who watched Night Train in person: I, unfortunately, was not around then.
The game’s changed a bit, and all those records are from the 40’s and 50’s. Drop all the way to 2001 and Anthony Henry of the Cleveland Browns had 10 alongside Mark Carrier of the Chicago Bears in 1990 for the “modern NFL” record.
That’s among rookies - meanwhile, Coby Bryant has recovered from a slow start to display tremendous ball-finding skills. At the same pace of 11 forced fumbles this year, he’s in the conversation among Charles Tillman and Osi Umenyiora for the NFL’s all-time record (10).
COBY BRYANT WITH THE FORCE FUMBLE ON KYLER MURRAY pic.twitter.com/mRMZRmhAcx— Barstool Cincinnati (@UCBarstool) October 16, 2022
According to @pfref, who has been tracking since 1999, no rookie had produced four forced fumbles in their first six games over the past 23 seasons until Coby Bryant accomplished it today. #Seahawks— Corbin K. Smith (@CorbinSmithNFL) October 17, 2022
.@Seahawks CB @_Tariqwoolen is the first rookie since 1970 to record both an interception and opponent fumble recovery in consecutive games. #RiqtheFreak #GoHawks— Seahawks PR (@seahawksPR) October 17, 2022
It’s especially remarkable that these two are rookies, on a defense that - even when somewhat respectable at times over the past few years - has just simply not generated turnovers. Woolen and Bryant have almost every single one this year. Nobody else has interceptions, and there’s a smattering of forced fumbles behind Bryant’s team lead.
Whereas Cross and Lucas are playing well and were the talk of early season, these two have stolen the show. Rightly so, and are among the biggest factors of whether this defense can hang with the rest of the league and where Seattle will fall in the standings this year.
The team’s in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC West, and I fully expect you’ll continue to hear these rookies’ names called moving forward.