D.J. Hayden "Definitely on the upswing" according to Jason Tarver

2013 first round draft pick D.J. Hayden came under fire as his debut season at cornerback for the Oakland Raiders as the Houston product faced even more adversity after having perhaps the toughest path to the NFL of the first round picks in recovering from a nearly fatal practice injury that ended his college career. Missing a full training camp thanks to recovering from surgery, Hayden’s body wasn’t ready for the rigors of a full NFL season and he hit the injury reserve due to a sports hernia following a game where he did not look 100% while getting memorably burned by Riley Cooper of the Eagles.

Still despite pockets of Raider fans trying to unjustly label Hayden a “bust” after under half a season, the corner did have a strong game against the San Diego Chargers where he showed his ball hawking tendencies and has been reported to have put in a lot of work over the offseason to get ready for his sophomore season where he has a mission to prove his detractors wrong. Adding weight to be more physical and getting a true offseason he wasn’t awarded in his rookie season preparations, Hayden quietly has been impressing those around the organization over the spring.

Jason Tarver broke that silence recently as San Francisco Chronicle beat writer Vic Tafur pointed out that the Raiders defensive coordinator took time on a radio spot with the team’s flagship station 95.7 The Game to give some praise for the quietly hard working Hayden. Pointing out that after a difficult 2013 and hard work in the offseason that success should be on the way as a reward for a long two years for his young cornerback.

“D.J. saw just about everything, both in life and in football, happen to him in his rookie season,” Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said on 95.7, via Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle. “From his surgeries to his injuries to what he’s overcome personally, physically, everything. He’s a great young man, working hard right now. He’s honing his technique, he looks explosive and he’s put on weight and strength. And he’s really focusing in on learning the little things in the defense so that he can play faster and be more aggressive on certain types of routes. He’s definitely on the upswing.”

Healthy and able to add to his physique this offseason, 2014 is a big year for Hayden as he will look to get his first full NFL season under his belt. No longer a rookie, Hayden’s biggest advantage is still his upside which depending on who you ask is amongst the highest of the young corners in the league. Putting in the work to turn that upside into talent, Hayden is looking to prove all those who were quick to call him a bust during his rookie season wrong. Something his defensive coordinator thinks is a definite possibility in 2014.

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Tags: D.J. Hayden Jason Tarver Oakland Raiders

  • stucktrader

    He’ll be fine… he might not be in the Revis world… or for that matter Mike Haynes… They just need a legit CB… IF he turns out to be the stud CB that RM thinks he would become… then it’s all good. But would they be willing to pay to keep him?

  • KloverJane

    Kinda hard to judge at this time

  • Ricky Bobby

    I believe he will improve still a BIG MISTAKE TO DRAFT HIM IN THE 1st rd, 3rd @ best.

  • B Christopher

    I really like the fact that they drafted this kid. His story and comeback alone tell so much about his character. His will to live, his will to get back in the football field, are testaments to the kind of person he really is. So often, we get all caught up in stats, and numbers, and we lose sight of what produces those stats and numbers….. Players, and those players are PEOPLE! Every single team in the NFL is loaded with world class, top notch athletes, all of them, bar none. What makes a team win, and what makes a team lose is Character. It’s Desire! It’s the Will to Survive, in the face of adversity. It’s Drive, and sometimes, like Hayden, it’s Fighting for Life. Maybe not in a literal sense, but, those that can look at each other in the huddle and say to the player across from them, “Let’s do this!” “I will not be denied!”
    These kinds of players elevate to a higher level when the stakes are high, and when they are stacked against them, they find a way to scratch, claw, and eek out another victory. They are the same players, over & over & over again.
    Character & Coaching is the difference in sports. Anybody that has ever won anything in team sports knows this to be true. The cream rises to the top! The feel, the energy is actually tangible when the stakes are high and a bunch of winners are together. YOU CAN FEEL IT!!
    Character guys, like they’re drafting will succeed, just watch, they’ll succeed because they don’t know how to do anything other than succeed and achieve their goals! STAY TUNED RAIDER NATION, stay tuned!

  • Rees Britton

    Im not sure where you get your information from, because frankly you couldn’t be more incorrect on this one!

  • Jaime Olguin

    I like DJ Hayden he’s going to be a top ten corner in a couple of years, if that he might even
    do something great this year. This kid has the heart talent plus he’s a smart corner and now
    with Carlos Rogers and Terrell Brown plus C Wood , he has a lot of people in his corner to be
    a great play maker. Expect DJ to come out the gate strong I’m sure Tarver will use him in nickle
    packages. Shoot were going to have an awesome team, look out AFC west here we come.
    GO RAIDERS!!!!!!!

  • Mark from Section 122

    Hayden was a great corner in college, and he has a great story, a real tearjerker, but this is the NFL, not the Lifetime Network or the Oprah show,,,,, and I’m sorry. but AS A 1st ROUND PICK, he was a bust! Any 1st rounder that doesn’t go in and start, and perform, is a wasted pick. All the Raiders did is waste an inexpensive productive slot on the roster during a rebuild, and pay him big money to recuperate. Once he is ready to go, if he does start hitting on all cylinders, his contract will be up. Then it is thank you very much for the rehab program, I’ll be on my way, unless you pay big bucks. It was an experiment that failed, at a time when the Raiders really couldn’t afford the luxury of experiments.

  • Anthony Hughes

    the autumn wind is a pirate
    blustering in from sea
    with a rollocking song, he sweeps along
    swaggering boisterously.
    his face is weather beaten
    he wears a hooded sash
    with a silver hat about his head
    and a bristling black mustache
    he growls as he storms the country
    a villain big and bold
    and the trees all shake and quiver and quake
    as he robs them of their gold
    the autumn wind is a raider
    pillaging just for fun
    he’ll knock you ’round and upside down,
    and laugh when he’s conquered and won.

  • Kenny Oliver

    So stupid to label a player a bust after one season, so stupid.

  • Raider Grant

    Seeing is believing….I guess we’ll see if he can improve, but until then it was a bad 1st round draft pick & we could of been more proficient by drafting more wisely. Please prove me wrong though Hayden! Go Raiders