Allow Me to Re-Introduce D.J. Hayden

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Coming out of College

On NFL Network, draft analyst Mike Mayock raved about Hayden’s ability to play both press-man and off-man. Then he really raved about Quinton Patton, now of the San Francisco 49ers, not getting off the line of scrimmage on him. On tape, I was able to see his impressive off-man skills for myself in games against Penn State and UCLA.

On shorter routes, he peeked into the back field to read the quarterback’s eyes, planted his foot once the ball was in air and drove on it. Hayden’s speed would then get him there to cut the ball off for an interception or bat the ball down. It takes elite speed to do that and he showed that on his pro day with a 4.33 on his first 40-yard dash attempt.

He then pulled a hamstring on his second attempt so it wasn’t timed and somehow, his official time ended up being a 4.4. I’m taking the 4.33 as he’s even faster than that he can do some of the things Deion Sanders used to do in his day. On deep routes, he left receivers open to bait the quarterback into throwing and when the ball was in the air, he used that elite speed to close and either intercept the ball or bat it away.

That’s special and why Raiders G.M. Reggie McKenzie drafted him.