Arguably one of the best moves of the NFL offseason for the Las Vegas Raiders was bolstering the secondary with the addition of veteran cornerback Casey Hayward Jr.
The former Los Angeles Chargers star is considered a vast upgrade for the Raiders at his position, and he’s already impressed the likes of head coach Jon Gruden for a number of reasons. Gruden spoke about what he’s seen from Hayward thus far after training camp practice on Thursday.
“Well, he’s a polished pro, No.1,” Gruden said. “He’s experienced in this system, No. 2. Got a lot of history with the coaching staff, No. 3. So, he can translate information in his own way, in a very unique way. He’s a guy that guys have to follow. He’s a helluva player. Played as a nickel corner. Played great as an outside corner. Doesn’t miss practice. Doesn’t make mistakes. So, he’s been great for our guys.”
Along with being an upgrade at corner, Hayward also provides some much-needed leadership and guidance of the team’s promising young players on defense.
Gruden has noticed the impact Hayward has on his players on the defensive side of the football and how he can continue to help players like Damon Arnette moving forward.
“I think it helps all the corners. It helps Trayvon Mullen, it helps Nate Hobbs. We’re young back there. John Abram, [Tyree] Gillespie, [Tre’von] Moehrig. They are all young. To have a guy in there that’s been on a great defense, that knows the inner workings of all the things that are going to happen, it’s a huge asset for us. I said it earlier, it’s much like Eric Allen did for Charles Woodson back in the day.”
Hayward spent the last five years of his career as a division rival as a vital piece to the defensive puzzle for the Chargers. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler and will look to make the Raiders defense a force to be reckoned with along with the likes of fellow Raiders newcomers Yannick Ngakoue, Quinton Jefferson and Trevon Moehrig.