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Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks rookie minicamp is over. How did each draft pick fare?

Seattle defensive tackle Byron Murphy II, the Seahawks’ first-round draft pick, works out during rookie minicamp on Friday in Renton, Wash.  (Getty Images)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

Will the Seahawks’ 2024 draft class truly prove that eight was enough? Will they maybe someday go down as the Great Eight?

Far better questions than those will have to be answered first over the next few years before we can gauge the legacy of this draft class.

New head coach Mike Macdonald and his staff, though, began to get at least something of a feel for what they have in their new players when the Seahawks held their annual rookie minicamp Friday and Saturday.

Here is a look at how camp went for each draft pick.

Defensive tackle Byron Murphy II (first round, 16th overall): That the camp is held without pads, with no contact and generally at not quite regular-season tempo, with an emphasis on teaching, can make it difficult to gauge much about linemen.

But as expected, Murphy worked at the interior defensive line spots and in general gave off a positive first impression with a caveat offered about the kind of shape he’ll need to be in to get through an NFL season.

“Overall, a good start,’’ Macdonald said. “We’re not going to crown him right now like he’s the next best defensive tackle of all time, but we’re really excited about it. He shows all the bend and the strength at the point of attack and acceleration. Need to get in a little bit better shape, so we can get through a whole practice and fly around like we expect him to. But he understands that just like the rest of these guys. It’s so hard to stay in this elite shape the way the (pre-draft) calendar is set up. So he’ll get there. But we’ll be pushing them in the meantime.”

Murphy said his initial view of the Seahawks’ defense is that it will fit him well.

“I feel like the scheme, the defense we run, the position I am in, will create a lot of one-on-one’s for me,” he said “With one-on-one’s, I feel like I can get a lot of sacks and have successful seasons and a successful career.”

Guard Christian Haynes (third round, 81st overall): Haynes spent most of his time playing right guard, which is expected to be his primary position and where he will compete for a starting spot with Anthony Bradford and maybe Tremayne Anchrum Jr., as well. Haynes also saw a few snaps at left guard.

“Just technique-wise learning what the coaches want and showing that I can still move my feet, have my hands in the right placements,” Haynes said of his goal for the camp. “Showing that I am able to (be) a technique-sound player.”

Linebacker Tyrice Knight (fourth round, 118th overall): As expected, the UTEP product spent the weekend working almost exclusively at weakside linebacker, where his initial role figures to be adding depth behind veteran free-agent signee Jerome Baker and playing on most special teams.

“Tyrice made some good plays,” Macdonald said after Saturday’s practice. “Today, we had a little bit of an install. So there was a couple mental errors that we want to chase. Again, the intent is there, the attention to detail is there. Keep working on all the movement, playing like a linebacker in the NFL. Just like everybody else on the team, those are the things that are going to be really important for us to do so. And he sees that, so we’ll go to work on it.”

Tight end AJ Barner (fourth round, 121st overall): The Michigan grad did not practice while dealing with a hamstring injury described as minor. Barner said he hopes to be back soon – Seattle begins OTAs on May 20. Once healthy, Barner will compete with holdovers Brady Russell and Tyler Mabry and undrafted rookie free agent Jack Westover of Washington for what will be at least one, and maybe two, spots on the 53-man roster at tight end behind veterans Noah Fant and Pharaoh Brown.

Cornerback Nehemiah Pritchett (fifth round, 136th overall): Pritchett played mostly right cornerback during minicamp but figures to get snaps inside and maybe on the left side eventually, as well. Still, being on the right side makes sense because Devon Witherspoon and Tre Brown appear locked in to the starting spots on the left side (Witherspoon in the base and Brown when Witherspoon moves inside in the nickel and dime).

But the Seahawks could be looking for more competition on the right side behind Riq Woolen, where veteran Michael Jackson is the current backup.

Pritchett says wherever is fine with him.

“I think I’m a really smart corner,” Pritchett said last week when asked to describe his style. “A really long, fast corner that can play in any type of scheme. I think I’m really good at press (coverage). I’m versatile. I can play inside and outside. I think that’s the best way I can describe it.”

Guard Sataoa Laumea (sixth round, 179th overall): While Laumea played tackle the past two years at Utah, the Seahawks drafted him with the intent to move him inside. And that’s where Laumea played during camp, usually at left guard.

Laumea says that’s where he prefers to play for now.

“I’m willing to learn so if they want me outside, I definitely trust (offensive line) coach (Scott) Huff to coach me up to play tackle if he needs me,” he said. “In my career I have definitely been more comfortable on the inside. I feel like at the Senior Bowl I moved back inside after two years of not playing (there) because I do feel comfortable. But, I am willing to learn to play wherever they need me.”

Cornerback D.J. James (sixth round, 192nd overall): James played mostly in the slot during minicamp but saw a few snaps outside. Macdonald said the goal is for him to be able to play both, though nickel figures to be his primary position, where he may compete with Coby Bryant and Artie Burns for a backup spot behind Witherspoon.

James played only 84 of 690 snaps inside last season at Auburn but says he feels comfortable there.

“It’s going really well playing inside nickel and playing outside corner,” he said Saturday. “Just adjusting to playing more inside as well. But it’s going really good. I’m learning.”

Offensive lineman Michael Jerrell (sixth round, 207th overall): Jerrell, from Division II University of Findlay, played mostly right tackle – where he is expected to begin his Seahawks career – but saw a few snaps inside at right guard as well on Saturday.

“It felt good playing at guard,” he said after Saturday’s practice. “Everything happens so fast. I feel like it’s the same thing as playing tackle, it’s just that everything is right there in front of you, obviously going up against a bigger guy. I think my speed and length at guard helps me a little bit. I didn’t really have too much trouble, just getting adjusted to it.”