It's 6:45 on Friday evening and Seahawks West Coast scout Josh Graff is standing atop a table in the middle of the Derrick Jensen Draft Room at the behest of general manager John Schneider.
It's not uncommon in NFL scouting circles to hear the phrase "stood on the table" for a prospect, meaning a scout is so convinced the team needs to select that player, he would get up on a table to plead his case. That expression isn't actually taken literally too often, in this case Graff was indeed on top of a table as the Seahawks were prepared to select Washington State tackle Abraham Lucas with their third-round pick, No. 72 overall.
And it wasn't that Graff needed to do any more convincing at this point to sell his colleagues on Lucas, an athletic right tackle who was a four-year starter for the Cougars, but rather that Schneider and company wanted to let everyone in the room, and especially Graff—who not only scouted Lucas but who also attended the same high school, Archbishop Murphy in Everett—enjoy the moment as the Seahawks made their final of four picks in the top 72 that they hope will help lead the franchise to years of future success.
Both before and after this year's draft, Schneider and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made comparisons to 2010, their first draft together and the last time Seattle held a Top 10 pick. Some of the players acquired in that draft, most notably first-round picks Russell Okung and Earl Thomas, second-round pick Golden Tate and fifth-round pick Kam Chancellor, helped build the foundation for the most successful decade in franchise history, and if the Seahawks are going to quickly rebound from their first losing season in over a decade and set off on another run of sustained success, they're counting on the players taken in this year's draft to also become foundational pieces of that next run.
The Seahawks had more draft capital this year than they have since that 2010 draft, adding the ninth overall pick and an early second-round pick (No. 40 overall) in the trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver, and came out of the weekend with nine new players, making draft weekend a big opportunity to help shape the future of the team.
With that in mind, Seahawks.com spent the first two days of the 2022 NFL Draft inside the Seahawks draft room to give you a behind-the-scenes look as the Seahawks acquired four players: tackle Charles Cross, outside linebacker Boye Mafe, running back Ken Walker III and tackle Abraham Lucas in Rounds 1-3.
For more behind-the-scenes Seahawks coverage, check out "The Sound," an access-driven story of the 2022-2023 Seattle Seahawks. Fans can expect episodes monthly that highlight key main characters throughout the season. This series serves as a window into Virginia Mason Athletic Center for all 12s, underscoring the highs and lows that come with being inside an NFL team. You can watch new episodes and catch up on prior ones at YouTube.com/Seahawks.
The first episode of "The Sound" follows the Seahawks' 2022 NFL Draft and Rookie Mini Camp. From inside the draft room to exclusive reactions of newly drafted players, "Fresh Seattle Air" shows what it's like to both draft and be drafted. Tune into episode one on Wednesday, May 25 via the Seahawks YouTube Channel.
As the New York Jets select Sauce Gardner with the fourth overall pick—the second straight cornerback off the board following Houston's pick of Derek Stingley Jr. at No. 3—Schneider is on the phone with Giants general manager Joe Schoen talking about a possible trade for the New York's pick at No. 7 (the Giants hold picks No. 5 and 7). The call ends so the Giants can make their pick, Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, then Schneider and Schoen resume the conversation, ultimately deciding not to do a deal. The Giants will pick at No. 7 and the Seahawks will wait until the ninth pick, hoping one of the players at the top of their board will still be available.
With three teams still ahead of them, the Seahawks have several players with first-round grades still on their board, so they're going to get a player they like, the only question now is which one and if they can get one at a position of need.
Carolina picks N.C. State's Ikem Ekwonu, one of three tackles the Seahawks have near the top of their board. Jack Schneider, John's youngest son, climbs a step ladder to remove Ekwonu's name from the board.
The Giants use their second first-round pick on Alabama tackle Evan Neal, another of Seattle's top tackles, but not their highest-rated one still remaining. That would be Mississippi State's Charles Cross.
The Seahawks are on deck and the player they want is still there, but first have to sweat out the Falcons pick at No. 8. These are tense times, and John Schneider asks Jack to turn down the music, some mellow reggae that has been playing throughout the evening.
Could the Falcons be taking a tackle here? Could they trade it to another team looking to leapfrog Seattle, a team for whom tackle was an obvious need coming into the draft?
The pick is in, and the Falcons select USC receiver Drake London.
The room erupts.
"Let's go!" Schneider shouts. "Hell yeah, baby!"
Schneider and Carroll hug, then Schneider gives Seahawks president Chuck Arnold a big high five. The mood in the room is a combination of relief and joy.
Arnold jokes that he can get Schneider a new shirt—he literally was sweating out these picks leading up to No. 9—while Seahawks Chair Jody Allen defends her GM from Arnold's playful teasing.