I wanted to raise a couple of interesting articles that popped up online this week, relating to the Seahawks.

First, the now annual ‘inside the draft room’ piece from John Boyle. It’s been a must-read for the last three years, providing snippets of info from behind the scenes of Seattle’s draft. It’d be great, one day, to have the kind of video footage provided by the Colts and Bills (for example). For now though, there’s a little bit of intriguing detail to digest here.

According to the piece, Seattle had 19 players with first round grades. It speaks to this being a deeper class in terms of legit first round talent compared to previous years. My horizontal board had 20 players with ‘legit’ first round grades, so this was reassuring in terms of assessing the class.

Boyle also notes that after JJ McCarthy was taken with the 10th pick, Seattle still had 10 players with first round grades on the board. I found this interesting because it meant one of Michael Penix Jr or McCarthy had a legit first round grade. Is it too obvious to assume it was Penix Jr? Maybe. He was certainly, in my opinion, the more talented passer.

There’s been all kinds of mixed signals on Seattle’s interest in Penix Jr. James Palmer reported on the day of the first round that the Seahawks tried to move up to get him. Others then suggested that wasn’t accurate. I’ve heard it suggested they liked rather than loved Penix Jr. Yet it’s not easy to get a ‘legit’ first round grade. The Seahawks gave one of Penix Jr or McCarthy a mark in that range. Therefore, that suggests a degree of interest in one of the two. I think it’s at least interesting to note. They didn’t just have Caleb Williams and maybe the next two on an island and then no interest in the rest.

It’s also worth noting that the Seahawks can still give out relatively high grades and not intend to draft a player — because others might simply be graded much higher. Per Brady Henderson, JC Latham was supposedly a top target for them before he was taken seventh overall. Boyle, Henderson and others have suggested in their reporting since the draft that Byron Murphy, who they selected, was also a key target all along.

Boyle says in the piece that the Seahawks had a trade offer to move significantly back from #16, with 2025 stock being received in the return. A couple of people have reached out mentioning a possible trade partner here. I won’t say who because I can’t confirm anything — but if accurate, it would’ve been a really sizeable move down the board. We’re not just talking early 20’s here. The article lays it out. Schneider rejected the offer to go way down the board.

Another offer was reportedly made to move down into the 20’s but per Boyle’s account this was also dismissed. The article hints it wasn’t a serious offer.

Taliese Fuaga is name-checked as a player the Seahawks liked but by the point he was taken by New Orleans at #14, they were focused on Murphy. I thought Fuaga would’ve been seen as a can’t-miss pick by the Seahawks but it appears they always had their eye on Murphy as a preference.

On reflection it’s easy to see why they felt that way — and why some people called Murphy the best defensive player in the draft. Defensive tackles with his physical profile, playing style and production are incredibly rare. If we’re being honest, almost as rare as clear franchise quarterbacks. Although Murphy’s sack numbers weren’t ideal in college — everything else was top-tier including his pressure percentage. It’s unusual to be able to land a player like that at #16. In the 2014 draft I rated Aaron Donald as the top player in the class and was surprised he lasted to #13. Murphy is a very different player to Donald but this could similarly be an epic steal for the Seahawks.

Boyle’s piece notes that by the time round three started, Seattle had two interior O-liners ranked high on their board — Cooper Beebe and Christian Haynes. They reportedly tried to move up for Beebe but stayed put and gambled on Haynes lasting. He did — and they got one of their key targets.

Reading about day three, I feel even more confused about their decision making than I did before going through the article. They moved down from #102 to #121 and seemed to celebrate the move, despite Boyle writing: “It’s a calculated risk, the Seahawks only have a handful of players left on their board with fourth-round grades, but a risk they’re willing to take given the compensation.”

There’s no mention in the piece of Tyrese Knight and AJ Barner being players they graded in round four and that the gamble had paid off. I had a suspicion that maybe they didn’t see value and just took players they liked. This validates it somewhat — because previous articles have talked about how Seattle liked certain players on day three. It almost feels like, reading this piece, they settled on Knight and Barner.

Was it really worth such a big move down to #121 just for another fifth rounder? I didn’t think the trade provided much value at all — we’ll see if the picks pay dividends and hopefully they do. If anything I’d rather have moved up from #102 to get back into the third round. Despite the longevity concerns, four years of Payton Wilson sounds good to me for the sake of moving up four spots from #102.

The other article to note was a piece by Tony Pauline reviewing Seattle’s rookie minicamp.

Tony notes the Seahawks intend to use Byron Murphy in a similar way to Justin Madubuike in Baltimore. It makes sense — both are highly athletic and versatile. Mike Macdonald’s clever scheming and creativity turned Madubuike into an 18.5 sack player over the two seasons they worked together. In Maduibuike’s previous two years in Baltimore, he had just three sacks.

The piece also highlights Michael Jerrell, who apparently impressed coaches. Tony says his technique, not just his athleticism, stood out. I can’t speak to Jerrell’s playing ability but his physical profile is top notch. He’ll be interesting to track in pre-season and training camp. There were also positive words for UDFA’s Garrett Greenfield and Carlton Johnson. I gave Greenfield a fourth round grade based on physical upside although I thought he played with heavy feet. Johnson received a fifth round grade on my board due to excellent testing upside. They are both very capable of competing for a roster spot either this year or in the future.