NFL Draft Round 1 Grades: John Schneider lands Seahawks a star DT at No. 16

Seattle takes a player who will help Mike Macdonald transform the defense.
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The Seattle Seahawks had several needs entering the 2024 NFL draft but one of the most important was along the offensive line. OK, that's a joke. The most important need was along the O-line. Seattle general manager John Schneider may have seen that need as well and thought, "Nah, I'm good." Schneider instead chose Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy II.

To be fair, there is nothing wrong with taking Murphy either. Plus, he could be seen as a gift for new head coach Mike Macdonald. Seattle's offense, even with an iffy offensive line, has enough excellent skill-position players to succeed. The issue with Seattle's 9-8 teams the last two years has not been the offense, but rather a leaky defense.

Macdonald's scheme should fix the issues with pass coverage by the linebackers automatically (12s hope). Cornerback Riq Woolen and edge rusher Darrell Taylor could have better seasons in 2024 with better direction from Macdonald than they were getting from former head coach Pete Carroll and former defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt. If the defensive line is better at stopping the run and getting pressure on quarterbacks, that is going to help every other group on the defense.

Seattle Seahawks choose future disruptor Byron Murphy II in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft

This is where Murphy comes in. The nearly 6'1" and nearly 300-pound defensive tackle is extremely quick for his size but he is also strong enough to take on NFL offensive linemen. He should be a Week 1 of 2024 starter sandwiched between Leonard Williams and Jarran Reed. This should help Murphy get acclimated to the NFL while also being productive enough to help Reed and Williams (and Dre'Mont Jones) reach maximum productivity as well.

Murphy will help fix Seattle's run defense immediately. His pass-rush moves will improve with time but he has the athleticism to get some pressure on opposing quarterbacks early and be an extreme disruptor by the end of his rookie season. Long-term, Murphy has multiple Pro Bowls-level ability.

Maybe Seattle needed offensive line help, but the first round should also be about taking the best players available. Byron Murphy II should be a very good player for a long time in Seattle. He is going to help Mike Macdonald improve the defense and Murphy should be a foundational piece for the next eight seasons, if not even beyond.

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