I thought watching the second round was going to be a challenge. A 65-pick gap between #16 and #81 was a long wait. Yet as other teams made their selections, and occasionally reached, I didn’t feel that jealous at all.

The actual value in the late second didn’t feel that different to the area the Seahawks were going to select in round three. So while it would’ve been nice to pick twice in that range, it didn’t actually feel like they were missing out on a shelf of talent.

The team had their patience rewarded when Christian Haynes lasted to the 81st pick. Yesterday, he was a player I wondered whether they might go up and get if he lasted into range. I had him as a fringe second round talent on my board, expected to go between picks #60-75. In the end there was no need to move up. The Seahawks were perfectly placed to get a player few people expected to be available (as was the case with Byron Murphy).

This started a mini-run on interior linemen with Zak Zinter and Dominick Puni taken shortly after. Yet the Seahawks had their pick of the bunch at a vital area of need.

After two days this draft is following the example of the previous two. The Seahawks are intelligently letting each class come to them. Their work in free agency prevents them from having to reach for need, then they select players based on grade. Occasionally, value matches need (as we saw today). This is how good teams draft and the Seahawks are well on the way to a third extremely successful class.

It’s also refreshing to see the focus firmly placed on the trenches. They’ve needed this. I’ll keep mentioning it because it’s important. That Pittsburgh home game in week 17 can’t happen again. Picks like Haynes and Byron Murphy will help rectify the situation.

This is a new era and a fresh start. It’d be a great time to see the Seahawks as a far more talented, dominant, physical team at the line of scrimmage. Make yourselves uncomfortable to play against. Give opponents hell. It’s a cliché that games are won in the trenches — but it’s a cliché I’ve got a lot of time for because it so often proves to carry more than a slither of truth.

Drafting two big, physical, aggressive, talented, athletic linemen with your first two picks is a commitment to the trenches, a new identity and being the kind of team that can be feared again.

It’s also interesting, at least to me, that they’ve continued to focus on individuals with A+ personal and football character. Murphy and Haynes are competitive, mature, focused and intelligent. There are no risks involved here in terms of the people you’re bringing into the building. It’s a continuation of 2022 and 2023 in that regard.

In terms of Haynes’ play — he stood out on tape when I watched UConn play NC State at the start of last season. I studied more after that game, including a blowout defeat to Michigan where Haynes was still giving his all at the start of the fourth quarter in a lost cause. I liked that about him. He was one of the first names I added to my horizontal board and I’ve always had an eye on him.

He finishes blocks. I don’t like passive O-liners who wait for defenders to engage. I want linemen who’ll force the issue, initiate contact and Haynes does that. He’s a brawler who won’t back down and he plays with an old-school flavour. He’s one of the more violent players in the class and he’s very capable of pushing defenders backwards and sending opponents to the turf.

When Brock Huard tweeted before the start of the second round that he wanted to see violence and knock-back ability with every remaining pick — I replied listing four names. Marist Liufau, Malik Mustapha, Brennan Jackson and… Christian Haynes.

He’s a plug-and-play guard who can easily compete to start this year.

So what now? I still have 30 players on my updated horizontal board with day-two grades (click the board to enlarge):

I appreciate the league consensus will differ to my view on certain players — but there’s so much value still available for round four. The Seahawks have the second (#102) and 18th (#118) picks at the start of day three. I wish they had another one, there are so many good players remaining.

I think tight end could be an early focus with the likes of Ja’Tavion Sanders, Theo Johnson, Jared Wiley, Cade Stover and Dallin Holker available. This is a great chance to add a legit TE2 who can contribute. Really good options at safety remain with Malik Mustapha, Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, Dominique Hampton, Jaden Hicks and Kitan Oladapo. T.J. Tampa’s still out there at cornerback and a good crop of interior O-liners remain available.

They have great options.

Do I still think they’ll take a quarterback? I’m less sure and less enthused now. I want to see them take a quarterback with conviction — not do it for the sake of it. Spencer Rattler and Michael Pratt lasting into day three makes them less appealing to me, especially given the six-QB rush in round one and no other teams have dabbled since.

I want the Seahawks to take shots at the position but not meaningless shots. So unless they just calculated this perfectly — knowing they could take Haynes at #81 and still get the quarterback they want at #102, I’m inclined to say focus on other positions tomorrow.

If you missed our day-two instant reaction stream, check it out here: