Las Vegas Raiders: 5 best cornerbacks taken in the NFL Draft
2. Lester Hayes
It is interesting when you think of the better corners to play the game and how little Lester Hayes gets mentioned. The fifth-round pick out of Texas A&M played linebacker in college but transitioned to corner once he came to Oakland.
Hayes, aka The Judge, was a member and vital player in two of the Raiders’ three championship teams. In 1980, he had arguably the greatest season for a cornerback in NFL history. He picked off a total of 18 passes when you include the playoffs and was easily the Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-Pro.
Given how the game is geared more towards offensive success, that is a record that will likely never be broken.
Now many will point out that Hayes was a heavy fan of a specific sticky material that may have boosted his ability to get those interceptions. But at the time, it wasn’t illegal so, moving on.
And though Hayes never reached that number of interceptions again, he went on to make four more consecutive Pro Bowls after his historic 1980 season, proving he was a great player in of himself without any help.
In 1983, the Raiders paired Hayes with Hall of Famer Mike Haynes to form one of the best cornerback tandems in league history. That duo helped lead the Raiders to a win over the Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII.
Hayes proved to be a real steal in the fifth round and is the best life-time Raider at the position. Hayes played his entire career with the Raiders from 1977 to 1986 and is tied with Willie Brown for the most interceptions in franchise history.