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Byron Murphy II On First Day With Seahawks: 'It Feels Like Family Right Now'

Seahawks first-round pick Byron Murphy II met with the media Thursday ahead of this weekend’s minicamp.

Seahawks 1st round pick DT Byron Murphy II arrived at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center for his first day in Seattle on May 2, 2024
Seahawks 1st round pick DT Byron Murphy II arrived at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center for his first day in Seattle on May 2, 2024

After spending the pre-draft process avoiding Byron Murphy II, lest he tip his hand, Seahawks general manager and president of football operations John Schneider was there to greet Seattle's first-round pick with a big hug not long after he arrived at the Virgina Mason Athletic Center ahead of this weekend's rookie minicamp.

"Nice to meet you," Schneider said to Murphy. "I stayed away from you, man."

Schneider stayed away, but his and the team's desire to draft Murphy was never in doubt, which is why Schneider was so excited to introduce Murphy in a press conference that took place a day before Murphy and the rest of Seattle's rookie class will take the field for the first time.

"Everybody in the room for the last several months has been very excited about this day, the opportunity the other night to be able to select Byron with the 16th pick," Schneider said. "It was quite stressful, I've got to tell you. But I can't tell you how excited everybody is to have you here. On behalf of Jody Allen, our family here in the building at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center and all the 12s, we want to welcome you."

For Murphy, walking into the Virginia Mason Athletic Center Thursday was special not just because it was his first day with his new team, but also because it was his first day in the building many of his childhood heroes called home. Despite being from DeSoto, Texas, which is very much Cowboys country, Murphy became a big Seahawks fan thanks to the Legion of Boom defense and offensive stars like Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and Doug Baldwin.

"I just fell in love with the Legion of Boom, the guys, just the way they played on defense, guys like Kam Chancellor, Bobby Wagner, Michael Bennett, all those guys, Richard Sherman," he said. "Just seeing how those guys play on defense, the way they just set the tone and go out there and just the way they play, that's something I wanted to be a part of, and also, too, growing up, I was a huge fan of Russell Wilson. I loved Russell Wilson as a kid, watching those guys go out there and just dominate their opponent and win a Super Bowl. It was crazy. That's one of my goals. I'm trying to win games and bring a Super Bowl here, as well."

Not long after arriving, Murphy visited the equipment room where director of equipment Erik Kennedy and his staff got Seattle's newest defensive lineman situated, including having him pick out the Seahawks gear he would wear in his press conference.

"When I put the stuff on, that's when I feel like, 'OK, I'm officially a Seahawk,'" Murphy said as his father, Byron, mother, Seneca and girlfriend Maya Hurd sat nearby along with his agent, Ron Slavin. "I knew when I got drafted I was a Seahawk, but when I got here, put the gear on, I felt like I was part of the team right away. It feels like family right now. I'm just excited. I'm just happy."

Making the day all the more special was the fact that Murphy was sharing it with his parents.

"It's a great feeling having my parents with me because they've been with me since day one, so having them here with me, it really means a lot," he said. "Again, it's a blessing. They pushed me each and every day to get here. They're the reason why I'm here right now. They're the reason I'm talking to you guys. They're the reason why all this happened. They kept my head on straight, taught me right from wrong. They did a great job taking care of me. I really appreciate them a lot."

After starting the game as a 6-year-old competing against older kids and "dominating" as he recalls it, Murphy established himself as a standout running back and linebacker heading into DeSoto High School, Murphy was eventually approached about a position switch. He was hesitant at first, but agreed to make the move to the defensive line that ultimately led to him becoming a first-round pick.

"It was like my 10th grade year, I was playing middle linebacker, and we had a little play where I got to go to nose (tackle)," he explained. "So I ended up going to nose, I ended up making a TFL (tackle for loss) in the backfield, so the next day my coach came up to me, he said, 'Have you ever thought about moving to D-tackle?' I looked at him like he was crazy because I never seen myself being a defensive tackle. I'm telling him, 'I'm a skill guy, I am not about to play in those trenches. I'm not ready for that.' But I ended up saying yeah for some reason, I don't know why, I ended up saying yeah, then when I told my parents, my parents went off on me. They were mad and everything. But I was telling them, it's going to be OK. I'm going to do good at that position. When I first started off, obviously had to learn a lot, but I started learning -- like I grasped it fast, quickly. As I was learning, I'm like, man, this stuff is really simple, and man, I got it down right away. It's been on ever since then."

And though Murphy hasn't been a linebacker or running back since early in high school, some of skills that helped him at those spots still shows up in his play at defensive tackle.

"Movement ability, working edges, things like that," Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald said. "Just has a natural feel for playing blocks, working the soft part of the pass set. Yeah, you can see some linebacker ability in there."

That rare combination of size and movement ability is a big part of why Murphy became a first-round pick after a standout career at Texas, and it's why Schneider was so hesitant to make direct contact with Murphy throughout the draft process, instead trusting in his player personnel department's ability to complete a thorough evaluation. And on draft day, everything worked out for the Seahawks to land their top defensive player, and for Murphy to join the franchise he cheered for growing up.

"It was kind of like a game of Plinko on 'The Price is Right,' just trying to have everything slot out to work our way," Macdonald said of the first round. "And when it became evident Byron was going to be our guy, it was just really exciting in the room. I want to thank all the people in the process that put all the work into finding the right guy. We think Byron is the right person for our team, and just really excited to get this thing kicked off. Congratulations to you and your family, and this will be a long, fruitful, fun relationship. A lot of great things in store."

Seahawks 1st round pick Byron Murphy II arrived at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center for the first time on Thursday, May 2, 2024. Check out some of the best photos from his first day with the Seahawks.

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