October 6, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden (25) intercepts the ball against San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) during the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
DJ Hayden’s health continues to grab headlines
DJ Hayden missed Raiders Minicamp for the second straight season, still remaining in a walking boot from what the team is calling a sprained ankle. Head coach Dennis Allen has said that Hayden will be back for training camp, but hasn’t been shy in referring to the 2013 first round pick’s injury as being a “setback” which hasn’t eased the minds of Raiders fans who are showing a short leash when it comes to Hayden.
Depending on which Raiders fan you ask Hayden’s recent injury is either minor or the sign that the young player is “THE NEXT DARREN MCFADDEN #BUST” but regardless on how you view it there will be a lot of eyeballs on Hayden when Training Camp begins. Already worried about the durability of the young cornerback, the Raiders defense is relying on Hayden’s health after failing to secure one of the top cornerbacks in free agency that has added pressure to the situation. If Hayden can’t fill one of the top roles on the depth chart at cornerback, the chance the team’s depth at the position looks eerily similar to the second half of last season will be high.
Hayden’s ability to make it through an entire season is a key for both team and player as what will separate Hayden’s career in Oakland being a success or a failure may hinge on his ability to prove to the team as while as the fans that he can be a key player for an entire year. Only one year into his NFL career, luckily Hayden has the benefit of having plenty of time to prove doubters quick to cast him aside wrong by developing into the starting cornerback the Raiders vision him becoming. First, he has to stay on the field for practice as well as the long season ahead.