New frontier for coaches, players alike at Seattle Seahawks rookie camp

RENTON, WASHINGTON - MAY 03: Byron Murphy II #91 of the Seattle Seahawks talks with head coach Mike Macdonald during Seattle Seahawks rookie minicamp at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on May 03, 2024 in Renton, Washington.  (Steph Chambers / Getty Images)

It wasn't just the crop of 50-plus rookies figuring out their new surroundings on the first day of rookie mini-camp for the Seattle Seahawks on Friday.

It was also a learning day for new head coach Mike Macdonald and his coaching staff as they began to work through practices together for the first time as well.

"A.D. (Aden Durde) was calling the plays on defense because I was like, I think I need to figure out how to run a practice first," Macdonald said with a laugh.

It's also the first practice for Macdonald as a head coach since taking over the Seahawks back in January. While they've been able to have veterans on the field for limited work the last few weeks, they have been unable to hold actual practices due to limitations in the league's CBA. While Macdonald does foresee himself becoming more involved with direct coaching eventually, he feels a need to figure out how to oversee the entire operation first and foremost.

"As we get going, I'll be more involved with the whole team, and then when we get down to the nitty-gritty with the defense, then I'll probably spend more time with those guys when we're separate," Macdonald said. "Working through all that, you know, it's adjustable, and right now I just want to get a great feel for the team, and the guys, and what we're coaching and it's really cool to see you know how it all comes together from individual to team."

Macdonald is learning on the fly in his new role as a head coach after spots as defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens and Michigan Wolverines. He's figuring out a coaching staff that consists of many pieces he hasn't worked with previously while taking on the added responsibilities of the head gig.

"It was fun," Macdonald said. "First practice under our belt. We'll see a big jump from first practice to the second practice. Guys are enthusiastic, they were into it. A lot of things will get cleaned up. It's a big jump for these guys coming from all the Combine training and now being here in the building and doing actual football. Tempo was good, we stayed off the ground, guys are healthy. It's a good, it's a great day. We'll kick it off with some meetings later and walkthrough and get back after it tomorrow."

The Seahawks had 56 players on the practice field on Friday, which included just two players with any prior NFL experience: tackle Max Pircher, who they signed in April, and tryout quarterback Kory Curtis.

The rest of the group was completely green to the NFL world and getting their first chance to step on a professional practice field. That group consisted of Seattle's eight-man draft class and 16 undrafted free agents. The remaining group are all participating on tryout opportunities.

As you'd expect throwing a collection of players together for a practice less than 24 hours after getting into the building, these practices are far from polished. The hope is the guys you drafted clearly look like the best guys on the field, and that seemed to hold true on Friday.

Defensive tackle Byron Murphy II looks like an NFL interior defensive lineman. He's built low to the ground with a large lower half that appears perfect for the position, even if he can be considered slightly undersized.

"I feel like I had a great day of practice," Murphy said. "I feel like there's things I still need to work on. I feel like I'm learning. I'm still learning. I'm still getting the groove of things, but overall today, I feel like I had a good day."

Murphy also checked another milestone off after practice concluded as the team announced he signed his rookie contract Friday afternoon.

Per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, Murphy will get a fully guaranteed four-year deal worth just shy of $16.1 million. The deal also included a fifth-year option, which is standard for all first-round draft picks.

Murphy's agent, Ron Slavin, has been in town with his client the last two days as Murphy was introduced on Thursday and took part in his first practice on Friday. Contract values for rookies are slotted under the current CBA, which left more minor details as the only areas of negotiation.

General manager John Schneider said after the selection of Murphy last week that they have a great relationship with Slavin, which likely helped in getting the deal done this quickly.

Tight end AJ Barner was one of the few players not to take part in Friday's practice. The fourth-round pick out of Michigan is dealing with a minor hamstring injury from the pre-draft process that kept him from participating in practice.

"You’re training as a track athlete, not a football player," Barner said.

Barner said he's really close to returning, but they're being cautious for the time being.

Seahawks Mini-Camp Roster

No. Name Pos. College Hometown Acquired
1 Josh Henderson RB Indiana Pennington, N.J.  
2 Kory Curtis QB Gannon Cape Coral, Fla.  
4 Taulia Tagovailoa QB Maryland Ewa Beach, Hawaii  
5 Willie Roberts CB Louisiana Tech Fort Worth, Texas  
6 Terrell Vaughn WR Utah State Oxnard, Calif.  
8 Brian Jenkins WR Olivet Nazarene Lafayette, Ind.  
9 Jamie Sheriff LB South Alabama Terry, Miss.  
11 Jason Maitre FS Wisconsin Everett, Mass.  
13 JJ Ross SS Western Illinois Cincinnati, Ohio  
15 Chevan Cordeiro QB San Jose State Honolulu, Hawaii FA-'24
19 Trezmen Marshall LB Alabama Homerville, Ga.  
22 Andrew Hayes CB Central Arkansas Bryant, Ark.  
24 Irshaad Davis FS Troy Carol City, Fla.  
28 Nehemiah Pritchett CB Auburn Jackson, Ala. D5-'24
29 D.J. James CB Auburn Mobile, Ala. D6(b)-'24
30 Ashanti Cistrunk LB Mississippi Louisville, Miss.  
31 TaMerik Williams RB North Dakota State Angleton, Texas FA-'24
32 Kendarin Ray SS Tulsa Brenham, Texas  
33 Dee Williams WR Tennessee Forsyth, Ga. FA-'24
34 DK Joyner RB South Carolina North Charleston, S.C.  
35 Ro Torrence CB Arizona State Bessemer, Ala. FA-'24
36 George Holani RB Boise State Bellflower, Calif. FA-'24
37 Carlton Johnson CB Fresno State Moreno Valley, Calif. FA-'24
41 Josiah Johnson TE Oklahoma State Jacksonville, Fla.  
44 Kobe Lewis RB Florida Atlantic Americus, Ga. FA-'24
46 Nelson Ceaser LB Houston Missouri City, Texas FA-'24
47 Sunny Anderson LB Grambling College Park, Ga. FA-'24
48 Tyrice Knight LB Texas-El Paso Lakeland, Fla. D4(a)-'24
50 Richard Jibunor LB Troy Delta State, Nigeria  
55 Daniel Abraham LB Villanova Randolph, Mass.  
57 Easton Gibbs LB Wyoming Temecula, Calif. FA-'24
58 Devin Richardson LB Washington State Klein, Texas  
59 Travion Brown LB Arizona State Moreno Valley, Calif.  
60 Mike Novitsky C Kansas Victor, N.Y. FA-'24
61 AJ Forbes C Montana Bellevue, Neb.  
63 Sataoa Laumea T/G Utah Rialto, Calif. D6(a)-'24
64 Christian Haynes G Connecticut Bowie, Md. D3-'24
65 Michael Jerrell T Findlay Indiaapolis, Ind. D6(c)-'24
66 Nathan Pickering DE Mississippi State Mount Olive, Miss.  
68 Nick Correia G Rhode Island Nantucket, Mass  
69 Max Pircher T (no college) Bressanone, Italy FA-'24
76 Garret Greenfield T South Dakota State Rock Valley, Iowa FA-'24
79 Nick Rosi T Toledo Powell, Ohio  
81 Alex Larson TE St. John's Woodbury, Minn.  
82 Jesiah Irish WR Oregon State Snoqualmie, Wash.  
83 Freddie Roberson WR Mississippi State Seattle, Wash.  
84 Hayden Hatten WR Idaho Scottsdale, Ariz. FA-'24
86 Whenrica McAfee TE Georgia Southern Charleston, S.C.  
88 AJ Barner TE Michigan Aurora, Ohio D4(b)-'24
89 Jack Westover TE Washington Bellevue, Wash. FA-'24
91 Byron Murphy II DT Texas DeSoto, Texas D1-'24
92 Rason Williams II LB Louisiana Tech Houston, Texas FA-'24
94 Elijah Chatman DE Southern Methodist Shreveport, La.  
95 Buddha Jones NT Troy Tallahassee, Fla.  
97 Jay Kakiva NT San Jose State Las Vegas, Nev.  
98 DeVere Levelston DE Southern Methodist DeSoto, Texas FA-'24


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