Oakland Raiders Source: D.J. Hayden “May Never Be a Star” Despite Exciting Progress


Dec 28, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson (22) is tackled by Oakland Raiders middle linebacker Miles Burris (56) and cornerback D.J. Hayden (25) in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 47-14. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Anonymous sources rule the NFL news cycle during the slow season of the league calendar, particularly at draft time, but the long months between late spring and late summer bring interesting quotes from unnamed team sources to stir the headlines. Including from the Oakland Raiders camp as the team is not immune to outside information being leaked to league insiders from sources that keep their names away from the insider conversation they give to reporters who then pass it on to the public.

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On Friday the anonymous source wire focused on cornerback D.J. Hayden as the oft-injured, but very promising coverage talent has been healthy so far during OTAs and is looking like he will be the number one guy on the roster at his position come Week One of the regular season if everything goes well for during Training Camp. A surprise to some who have been quick to tag him with the ‘bust’ label after two partial seasons in the league with the Raiders after being selected in the 2-15 NFL Draft, and the team reportedly feel that his progress is enough to be cheerful about entering the bulk of preparations for the 2015 season.

According to ESPN’s Adam Caplan an anonymous source told him that the Raiders staff feel that Hayden is making exciting progress, but added that the cornerback “may never be a star” for the franchise even if they have a positive outlook on the player’s future with the team right now. A bit of a backhanded compliment being sent Hayden’s way by a nameless source.

Hayden’s career has been one where he has flashed some gamebreaking ability during the times where has been healthy, showcasing the speed and ball awareness that convinced general manager Reggie McKenzie to select him the first round despite a near death practice injury suffered during his senior season. Those glimpses of great promise have came with some on field struggles and a long list of injury struggles as Hayden has failed to get healthy, which has been the main roadblock to the player becoming a respected starter in Oakland since being drafted to the team.

Now that he is healthy the Raiders are happy with the progress he has made, but according to Caplan some feel that the ceiling is low on Hayden. Not every player becomes a star, but it is interesting that after just two seasons there may be people inside of the organization who feel that the young cornerback’s potential is limited. Gifted with great speed and the ability to make big plays on defense, Hayden may change that opinion, but for now he will have to deal with rumblings that he may never become a household name at the cornerback position.