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Five Takeaways From The Seahawks' 2024 Draft

Analysis of what the Seahawks accomplished over the three days of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald and president of football operations/general manager John Schneider in the draft room on day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft on April 26, 2024.
Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald and president of football operations/general manager John Schneider in the draft room on day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft on April 26, 2024.

The Seahawks came out of the 2024 NFL Draft with eight players, including defensive tackle Byron Murphy II in the first round, a player they viewed as “the best defensive player in the draft,” a "nasty” potential starting guard in Christian Haynes in the third round, and six more players on Saturday.

You can find more information on those two and all the Seahawks’ 2024 draft picks here, but in addition to taking a look at each pick individually, it's also worth considering what the newest draft class tells us about the team in 2024 and beyond. With that in mind, here are five takeaways from this year's Seahawks draft:

1. Day 3 is the "heart and soul" of the draft, and once again the Seahawks had a busy Saturday.

While Thursday's first round always garners the most attention, scouts really earn their keep on Day 3 of the draft, so it's no surprise that Seahawks president of football operations/general manager John Schneider speaks so fondly about the final four rounds of the draft. This year, the Seahawks started their day by moving back from the top of the fourth, a move that netted them an extra pick, and led to Seattle selecting six total players, linebacker Tyrice Knight, tight end AJ Barner, cornerback Nehemiah Pritchett, tackle Sataoa Laumea, cornerback D.J. James and tackle Michael Jerrell. Then, as is always the case, the Seahawks got busy working the phones and reaching deals with undrafted free agents, signings that will become official later this week before the start of rookie minicamp.

Only time will tell how those picks will work out, but Seattle has a strong track record under Schneider in finding Day 3 steals, a list that includes Pro-Bowlers Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright, Riq Woolen and Miachel Dickson, as well as starters and bigtime contributors like Chris Carson, Luke Willson, Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane, Tre Brown and Coby Bryant, to name a few, as well as numerous undrafted free agents who had long careers, led by Doug Baldwin, who went on to become one of the best receivers in franchise history.

"For years now, we've had a blast on day three," Schneider said Saturday evening. "We always talk about (Thursday) being the entertainment night, let's get through Friday. Last night was like whew, that felt like eight hours just getting through that second, third round, and today's the day we really like truly love, because this is where the heart and soul of the class is. These are the guys, and the guys that staff is working on right now… We love day three."

For several years now, Schneider and the entire player personnel department have work customized shirts that symbolize that Saturday is the day the real work is done.

"Our gas station shirts, yeah, this is like, 'We're going to work,'" Schneider said. "Getting up and this is the day. This is the day we just get after it and hey, we're not going to outsmart you, we're going to outwork you."

2. The Seahawks feel good about Geno Smith and Sam Howell moving forward.

The way the draft played out, the Seahawks didn't even have the option of adding a quarterback in the first round. All of the players worthy of a mid first-round pick, and arguably more than that, were gone early with six quarterbacks going in the first 12 picks. Beyond that, the Seahawks, and as the draft would show, every other team, didn't see the rest of the quarterback class worthy of even a Day 2 pick, with Spencer Rattler ending up as the next quarterback taken with Pick No. 150, a mid-fifth-rounder. And the way the later rounds played out, the Seahawks simply never had their picks align with where they had those quarterbacks graded.

"Once the six went in the first 12 picks, it was kind of like wow, all right, and then there were slots all the way through and it just didn't fit," Schneider said.

Had Rattler or Jordan Travis or Joe Milton or some other late round quarterback lasted longer than they did, might Seattle of picked them? Possibly, but a big reason the Seahawks traded for Sam Howell in the first place was not just the fact that they like him a lot as a player, but because adding him before the draft would keep them from feeling like they had to take a quarterback even if it meant going against their board.

"We just traded for Sam Howell," Schneider said when asked about the team's long-term plans at quarterback He's got two years left on his contract. He's, what? Two years younger than a lot of these guys in the draft. Geno's here. We have a really cool room right now. We're trying to add a couple guys right now and we'll continue to work it, so we'll see where it goes. We're always looking at that (quarterback) position. I can't tell you what our long-term plan is because I honestly don't know, but Sam is a huge part of it because we made a major trade to get Sam before we got here.

And in the first few weeks of the offseason workout program, Howell has made a good first impression on his coaching staff.

"We're going on three weeks now," Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald said. "I'm impressed with Sam, how he operates. We're building it slow offensively. The whole playbook is not in, but command of the huddle, impressed with that. He can spin it out there, that's easy to see. Just getting used to his personality, think he's starting to blossom a little bit more, that personality's starting to come out, but really excited about him. Like John said, it's a cool combination of guys and I think we've got some great coaches working with them every day. It's early, but the returns are very positive."

3. The Seahawks added toughness in the trenches.

Just as the Seahawks didn't go into the draft planning to not draft a quarterback, they also didn't go into it with a set number in? mind when it came to drafting any other position, but the way the draft fell, the Seahawks did find value in drafting players who will help them at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, including Murphy with their top pick, three offensive linemen, a physical tight end in AJ Barner, and a linebacker in Tyrice Knight who was one of the most productive tacklers in college football the last two seasons. Additions like that, paired with the talented line-of-scrimmage players already on the roster, should help Macdonald develop the physical style of play he is looking for.

"I don't think you go into the process saying 'we have quota,' but absolutely, that's where the game starts, up front, and it's going to be really important for us to be dominant in that phase," Macdonald said. "If it stops there, then you really don't have a shot the rest of the play. The style of play, we want to be physical, we want to be imposing, we want to create new lines of scrimmage, and I think you're seeing the investment in that. We're going to have awesome competition on both lines of scrimmage, it'll be fun to have iron sharpen iron throughout the process, throughout camp."

Said Schneider when talking about the offensive line picks in particular, "tone-setting was definitely something that was a factor in the guys that we wanted to acquire."

4. Cornerback might now be the most competitive position group heading into training camp.

Before the draft, the Seahawks already had a really good group of cornerbacks, including Pro-Bowl selections Devon Witherspoon and Riq Woolen, as well as Tre Brown, who started seven games last season. The Seahawks also have veterans Michael Jackson and Artie Burns, as well as Coby Bryant, who was the starting nickel corner as a rookie before moving to safety last year, and Lance Boykin, who spent most of last season on the practice squad. Had the Seahawks just gone to camp with that group, or perhaps added an undrafted free agent or two, they'd have felt good about where they stood at cornerback, but instead, the way the board fell, they got great value in adding a pair of cornerbacks from Auburn, Nehemiah Pritchett and D.J. James.

"It just literally fell that way," Schneider said. "We had those guys right together so it was amazing that we ended up selecting both of them, both really cool young men and competitors and to add to that room, those two guys, it's a big deal. Excited to get them here and get them going."

Asked how those two would fit into a loaded position group, Macdonald said, "Come in and compete, that's the theme for the whole draft class. Nehemiah is probably more of an outside guy. Definitely early, both guys on special teams, we anticipate them to come in and make a huge impact for us. D.J. probably both inside and outside, but come in, compete, we'll figure it out. Kind of like the offensive line, defensive line. We got a lot of reps to be had out there, so it'll hash itself out."

5. "The standard is the standard," and the Seahawks aren't done working on their roster.

Right outside the draft room in which Schneider and company made all eight picks, a large message is painted on the wall stating one of the front office's primary goals, which is to build a "consistent championship-caliber team." So while there has been plenty of change this offseason, both in terms of the roster, which is the norm every offseason, and most notably, at head coach, nothing changes when it comes to the organization having high expectations in 2024 and beyond. That was the case before the draft, and the Seahawks only feel better about their team having now added eight more players last weekend. And part of being that type of team is knowing that, even after the draft and early phases of free agency, the roster isn't finalized.

"I think we've made a lot of progress, and we're always going to keep looking at the same," Schneider said. "We're never going to be rebuilding or whatever term you want to use. We're not that. The standard is the standard, nothing's changed in that regard. We're always going to be pushing the envelope. Now, just because we got through this draft doesn't mean we're going to stop, either. We're evaluating these guys when they walk in the door, we're going to be helping them out as much as we possibly can. We have all the tools in this building to help everybody, all the individuals, there's a ton of individuals that can assist these guys and accentuate their strengths and help them with their deficiencies, and we're just going to continue to do that all the way through, and we're going to continue to be talking to other teams about possible trades and cap casualty guys and what have you. I can't say it enough, it's a full year process. It just doesn't stop. It hasn't stopped, quite honestly, since 2010."

Go behind the scenes of the Seahawks draft room on Day 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

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