Five Oakland Raiders who must step up with Aldon Smith gone

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DJ Hayden

No, Hayden does not play on the defensive line. However, he will need to step-up his efforts against the pass with even less of a pass rush.

Currently, the Raiders defense ranks No. 28 against the pass, and there is plenty of blame to go around. Hayden’s been on the field for most of the Raiders snaps.

A lot of that could go on Hayden, who is the Raiders second worst overall graded defensive player according to Pro Football Focus. PFF also ranks Hayden in the bottom five for cornerbacks in the entire league.

Hence, Hayden must step his game up. He needs to limit the penalties and find ways to make plays for a Raiders defense desperate for playmakers.