June 19, 2024

Seahawks Take Key Ravens-Style Player in ESPN Mock Draft

With Mike Macdonald as the Seattle Seahawks‘ new head coach, fans can expect the defense to make a major leap next season. To that end, ESPN NFL draft guru Matt Miller has Macdonald’s new team taking Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy II at No. 16, who reminds Miller of key Baltimore Ravens defender Justin Madubuike.

Byron Murphy II Goes to Seattle in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft

Mike Macdonald will want to put his personal stamp on his new team, and that means defense. After two years as the Ravens DC, one season as Michigan DC, and a career built on coaching linebackers and defensive backs, Macdonald is a defensive-minded head coach.

His Ravens D was ninth in yards and third in points allowed in 2022 and improved to sixth and third in those respective categories in 2023. The new Seahawks head coach created a monster defense without all that many name stars. Roquan Smith, Patrick Queen, Kyle Hamilton, and Madubuike are all incredible players but not exactly among the first NFL defenders a casual fan would think of.

With this team-building philosophy in mind, it makes sense that Macdonald’s first draft in Seattle would start with the least sexy position on the defense, D-tackle. But that’s exactly where Miller has the Seahawks going in his Feb. 5  ESPN mock draft.

“New coach Mike Macdonald comes from the Ravens, where he molded defensive tackle Justin Madubuike into an All-Pro-caliber player. Now Macdonald can get another standout 3-technique in Seattle.” Miller writes in the Seahawks section of his mock draft.

“Murphy was asked to play over the tackle in Texas’ 3-3-5 scheme, but his power and burst allowed him to routinely make an impact as a pass-rusher,” Miller continues. “The 6-foot-1 308-pounder had five sacks in 2023 while rarely being put into true gaps as a pass-rusher. Murphy’s ceiling is incredibly high, and he’d be awesome in Macdonald’s defense.”

Madubuike put up 55 tackles with 12 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble this season. However, it was his 13.0 sacks and staggering 33 QB hits that helped the Ravens’ defense become one of the best in the league.

If Murphy turns into even 75 percent of the player Madubuike is, then the Macdonald-led unit will be off to a great start up front.

Who the Seahawks Miss out on Going DT in This Mock Draft

As with anything in life and football, there is an opportunity cost do doing one thing instead of another. Mike Macdonald building a defense in the Ravens’ image in the Pacific Northwest is a worthy pursuit, and frankly, why the Seahawks brought him in.

However, there is always the road not traveled, and in the NFL draft, that means the players not taken.

Outside of defensive line, the Seahawks could use their first-round pick — and they don’t have a second thanks to the Leonard Williams trade — on three positions of need. The first two are edge rusher and interior offensive line.

After the Seahawks at 16 in Matt Miller’s mock NFL draft, there are several tantalizing prospects at both spots who quickly come off the board.

On the pass rush side, Laiatu Latu from UCLA and Darius Robinson from Missouri go later in the first round, the latter to Macdonald’s old team, the Ravens. As for interior OL, there are some familiar names to Seattle fans available in Pac-12-ers like Washington guard Troy Fautanu and Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson.

Then there is the third area of need: Quarterback.

The big three — USC’s Caleb Williams, UNC’s Drake Maye, and LSU’s Jayden Daniels — are well off the board by pick 16, as are Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy and Oregon’s Bo Nix. However, Miller does have one top signal-caller slipping to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 42: Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.

Passing on Penix, who revitalized the Seattle college football scene these last two years is a risk for the Seahawks. If he comes good for the Vikings or any other team picking later than 16, The 12s will ask questions of general manager John Schneider.

All that said, Macdonald knows defense, and if he does like Byron Murphy II, you have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

New Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald goes defense in the latest NFL mock draft.

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