Last May brought the debut of The Sound, an all-access docuseries providing a behind-the-scenes look at the Seahawks. The series began by introducing the 2022 draft class that produced a handful of starters, including rookie cornerback and NFC Pro Bowl selection Tariq Woolen, 1,000-yard rusher Kenneth Walker III and starting tackles Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas. Season Two's debut gives us an in-depth look at the 10 players selected in April’s 2023 NFL Draft.
Episode one gives us a look into Seattle's draft room, the culmination of a nearly year-long process of scouting and interviewing this year’s prospects. The opening scene of Season 2 shows general manager John Schneider thanking the members of his scouting department as the clock ticks down towards the start of Round 1.
"Just want to thank everybody," said Schneider. "Last Spring, all the way to this point, everything that goes into this. Huge, huge process. You guys started out in the Spring, going through the whole Fall; everybody's input, it means a ton. We've gone through a lot. Have fun with this. We're going to have players disappear here that's going to hurt. It's going to be fun, but we know they're going to go away and it sucks because we spent so much time studying these guys and we've come to love them all. Let's have a great weekend, communicate effectively, love on each other. And let's have fun."
The draft clock ticking can be a stressful time for teams, but the episode shows the true excitement from Seattle's front office - from Schneider to Seahawks Chair Jody Allen to head coach Pete Carroll. With pick No. 5 approaching, a jovial Schneider circulates the room hugging and shaking hands before calling Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon. Drowning out the applause in the room, an excited Schneider tells the 6-foot corner how he feels.
"We had a great visit with you," said Schneider. "So we want you to get your ass back out here to Seattle. We're going to select you right here man, get jacked up, all right?"
Cameras follow the Pensacola, Florida native as he takes in becoming the highest-selected player by Seattle since taking linebacker Aaron Curry No. 4 overall in 2009. From meeting Commissioner Roger Goodell on stage, to his first interview with the Seattle-area media, fans get a peek at the hungry rookie taking it all in.
"To be honest," said Witherspoon. "I was really just happy, happy and excited that they called my phone. Had the talk and they told me they were going to select me at pick five, so it was just really exciting for me."
Witherspoon wasn't the only one smiling, as Ohio State wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba gets his moment at pick No.20. The 2021 third-team All-American expressed his excitement before joining NFL veteran and analyst Ryan Clark on NFL Sunday Ticket.
"I'm excited to meet the whole team," said Smith-Njigba. "And get active with them boys. I know they already have a talented group, a talented team. So, anytime I can come in and do it, let's do it. Let's go."
After arriving in Seattle, the duo learned about work-play balance at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, as they rode in a boat to tour the facility and meet the vets.
The episode takes time to highlight the scouting department for their year-round work to help build a contender, showing the group honored with Inside the League’s Best Draft Award. Fans are given a look at the draft interview process before the arrival of the remaining rookies at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Fifth round selection Olu Oluwatimi reunites with fellow fifth-round selection and Michigan teammate Mike Morris, along with former University of Virginia teammate Joey Blount. Seventh-round selection Kenny McIntosh shares his plans for making an impact on the coaching staff and the fans.
"I want the fans to know," said McIntosh. "They got a dedicated hard worker on the team. Somebody that's going to compete no matter what. I just want them to know that they got a player that's going to put on a show for them whenever he gets an opportunity to. I want to be connected with the fans, I want them to know my name."
After getting fitted for team apparel, Witherspoon closes the show as the rookie class hits the field together for the first time.
"I just go out there and play football," said Witherspoon. "That's all there is to it. I just try to be the best person I can be on the field. I mean, really goals-wise, I never had anything set. We are just trying to go out there and win though. That's all."
Episode one sets the tone for a 2023 season with expectations to build on the success captured in season one. Whether the class will be able to replicate the production of the 2022 class is to be determined - but it's hard not to get deja vu visualizing what can be with another year of added value.
For more behind-the-scenes access on this year's draft, be sure to check out our story from inside the draft room during all seven rounds of the 2023 draft, and our story that goes inside the interviews with draft prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Go behind the scenes with Seahawks team photographer Rod Mar as he documents the Seahawks Draft Room during the 2023 NFL Draft. Eye On The Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers.