The Jets got defensive rookie of the year candidate Sauce Gardner with the fourth pick in the draft. The Seahawks snared defensive rookie of the year candidate Tariq Woolen nearly 150 picks later, in round five.
So why didn’t Seattle take Tariq Woolen sooner?
“We didn’t have to,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters on Friday. “That’s exactly the same thing [Richard Sherman] used to say. He was always pissed at us for taking him in the fifth round. Well, nobody else took you. Because of the work and assessment and the personnel guys, [G.M.] John [Schneider] had that figured out, and we were fortunately in a position that got him, and he’s been an awesome pick for us.”
It’s part of the broader game when it comes to the draft. A team may highly value a given player. But if no one else does, why take him sooner when he’ll be there later?
Of course, the risk is that he won’t be. For the Seahawks, Woolen was.
“Going in, he knew all of those guys are big name guys, and he understood that, and tried to play his game the best he could, and not overreact to the personality of the other guy, and he’s done that,” Carroll said. “He’s going to try to do the same thing again. Davante is as good as anybody that we have played. He’s a fantastic player, and it’s a great challenge for both our guys, and for the guys that play outside. I think wherever [Woolen] is placed, he has handled it well. I think he is ready to do this again. We’ll see how it goes.”
The Seahawks, at 6-4, are in a battle with the 49ers for first place in the NFC West. San Francisco got the win in round one. The rematch is looming, on Thursday, December 15.