Poll: Should the Oakland Raiders give up on DJ Hayden?


Oct 25, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback D.J. Hayden (25) looks on from the field during the second quarter of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Oakland won 37-29. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Many Oakland Raider fans would have already ended the DJ Hayden experiment if they had they chance. Lucky for Hayden, the unofficial scapegoat of the Raiders defense, his lively hood is not up to the fans.

The No. 12 pick in the 2013 draft has constantly underwhelmed and battled injuries. Between holding calls, missed tackles, blown assignments and just getting beat, Hayden has not done much to silence opposition

Now, Hayden finds himself in an awkward position. Hayden did not have a role in the nickel, dime or base defense against the Tennessee Titans.

Hayden went from starter and playing the most snaps on defense, to only playing five snaps in the Titans game.

Are Hayden’s days numbered in Oakland?

Hayden has his own performance to blame. Pro Football Focus ranks him among the worst starting corners in the league. Through 10 games this season, he only defended six passes and intercepted one pass.

"Head coach Jack Del Rio said, “It’s not so much about DJ as about rewarding players that have been playing the best.”"

Despite Del Rio’s words, it is alarming that Hayden received no play even as the slot corner. He went from the No. 1 corner on the roster to the No. 6 in a matter of days.

The Hayden demotion proves Del Rio will let the best players play, regardless of the team’s investment.

From Day One, Del Rio preached the importance of competition. Right away, he cut major contributors James Jones and Antonio Smith. Then the trading of Sio Moore showed Del Rio was not afraid to make tough roster decisions.  He continued showcasing fearless roster evaluation with the cutting of Ray Ray Armstrong and the inactive scratches of Rod Streater.

Hence, Del Rio could also decide to give-up on Hayden. Would he actually cut Hayden straight-out?

Hayden’s salary is a mere $2,815,554 this season and $3,284,813 next season. It is hard to imagine General Manager Reggie McKenzie giving-up on a draft pick, considering he values developing through the draft more than anything.

Personally, I do not think the Raiders are talented enough to cut players with raw talents like Hayden. Especially considering the Raiders other corners are not any more proven.

T.J. Carrie and David Amerson have performed well this season. However, Carrie has battled injuries this season. Meanwhile, Amerson is only 10 games removed from being the worst starting cornerback in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Amerson was so bad that Washington cut him, despite their 2013 second round investment.

Listen, I have been very hard on Hayden all season. It seems like he frustrates me every-time he is on the field. However, I will give him credit for resilience. Hayden battles despite fans criticism and teams picking him apart. That in itself is a great trait for a defensive back.

Moreover, Hayden possess enough physical traits to look like a decent corner. His combination of speed and size could make him ideal for the slot corner position. Many have also suggested a switch to the safety position.

Remember, Hayden missed 16 games in his first two pro seasons, and he missed his entire senior season of college with a chest injury. The Raiders knew he was a developmental project when they drafted him. Hayden has also missed practice reps that he has needed to adjust to the game speed.

But have the Raiders finally seen enough of Hayden?

Sure, maybe you the fans might have seen enough of Hayden. But has the organization seen enough of the cornerback to give-up on their investment?

To me, the Hayden era reminds me a lot of the Darius Heyward-Bey experiment. Both display physical characteristics for their position and dedication to the mental aspect of the game. However, neither execute consistently on Sundays.

Eventually, the Raiders ended their high hopes for DHB. Heyward-Bey become a reliable teammate and special teams player for the Steelers, but he is still not a valuable receiver.

As for Hayden, I’m not really sure of his fate with the Raiders. Maybe he could develop into a solid player, but his days as a starter might be over.

Maybe the Raiders should just pull the plug on Hayden and move on. Otherwise, they could just continue trying to salvage whatever they can out of McKenzie’s first No. 1 draft selection.

Let us know what you think the Raiders should do with Hayden in the poll below: