Las Vegas Raiders: 15 best defensive backs of all-time

Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen (27) Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen (27) Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mike Haynes, Los Angeles Raiders
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) /

4. player. 28. . CB. (1983-89). Mike Haynes

  • Pro Football Hall of Fame (Class of 1997)
  • Super Bowl Champion (XVIII)
  • NFL 75th Anniversary Team
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team w/Raiders
  • 2x First-Team All-Pro w/Raiders (1984-85)
  • 3x Pro Bowl w/Raiders (1984-86)

Mike Haynes may be the most underrated defensive back in NFL history. His résumé speaks for itself. He’s a Pro Football Hall of Fame, a member of the NFL 75th Anniversary Team, and an All-Decade Team member of the 1980s squad primarily based on his time with the Raiders. Yet, he still doesn’t get the credit he rightfully deserves. Now why is that?

Well, the biggest reason Haynes seems to get dinged a bit in the hierarchy of great defensive backs in NFL history is pretty simple really. He split his time evenly between two AFC franchises: the New England Patriots and the Raiders when they were headquartered in Los Angeles.

Haynes was a perennial Pro Bowler and Second-Team All-Pro during his first seven years in the league with New England. Along with offensive guard John Hannah, they were the two best players on so-so Patriots teams in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

While he was probably more consistently good while with New England, the Raiders benefited tremendously by getting the four best years of Haynes’ prime upon his arrival in Los Angeles in 1983. In his first year with the team, the Raiders won Super Bowl XVIII over the Washington Redskins.

Though he wasn’t a Pro Bowler that year, Haynes would rattle off three straight from 1984 to 1986. While Haynes had been a regular on the All-Pro Second-Team in New England. His best season as a professional came in 1984 with Los Angeles. He was named to his first First-Team All-Pro squad, as he six picks for a league-high 220 yards.

Haynes backed up his signature year in the league with another impressive campaign in 1985. He made his second of two career First-Team All-Pro teams, while adding another trip to the Pro Bowl to his résumé. Haynes made it to his ninth and final career Pro Bowl the following year in 1986. He ended up making eight All-Pro teams as well in his hall of fame career.

No, Haynes wasn’t a particularly dominant ballhawk with the Raiders. He managed just 18 picks in his seven years in Los Angeles. Haynes was superior in that regard with New England, as he had 28 in his first seven years in the league. However, Haynes’ body of work in 14 NFL seasons is too impressive to be taken lightly.

Naturally, Haynes earned Canton enshrinement in 1997. His Canton classmates include Wellington Mara, Don Shula, and Mike Webster. From his outstanding days in college at Arizona State, Haynes has also been elected into the College Football Hall of Fame. Defensive backs the caliber of Haynes come along very rarely. The Raiders benefited from his defensive excellence for seven great seasons.