Several years ago during the 2013 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders sought to fill a need that still exists today as they selected Houston product D.J. Hayden with pick No. 13. Hayden’s story is nothing short of a miracle, given that he very well could have died on the practice field in college.
Ex-Raider D.J. Hayden Wants To “Whup Ass” In Final Oakland Raiders Home Game
That being said, Hayden’s time in Oakland wasn’t so miraculous. At least that’s what former general manager Reggie McKenzie felt as he sent Hayden packing by not resigning the man drafted 13th overall. While playing for the Silver and Black, he flashed at times but then had moments that left a lot to be desired.
There were games when Hayden appeared to be the next shut down guy the Raiders desperately wanted but there was a myriad of lackluster performances mixed in with the good. Raider Nation became accustomed to seeing tweets like thisâ€¦
— Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) October 1, 2015
But there were also the good timesâ€¦
Per @PFF, DJ Hayden was targeted five times, allowed two receptions for 25 yards. Only 3 yards after the catch.
— Scott Bair (@ScottBairNFL) October 10, 2016
For the most part though, things weren’t sunshine and daisies.
Per @PFF, DJ Hayden allowed three receptions on four targets, all big plays you know well. Not others. 3 catches for 139 yards, 2 TDs.
— Scott Bair (@ScottBairNFL) November 4, 2013
All things considered, from my perspective, his play was too sporadic and the Raiders elected to let him walk in free agency. Since leaving The Town, Hayden has played for the Detroit Lions where he also had up-and-down play and he’s since been in Jacksonville for two seasons.
Hayden will take the field on the opposite sideline where his career started, and he is most definitely eager for the opportunity.
The former Raiders corner said per Mark Long of the AP, â€œYeah they ain’t bring me back so, you know what I’m saying, got to make them pay for it.” Josh Dubow of the AP also shared more of Hayden’s thoughts on the possibility of spoiling the final game in Oakland. â€œOh, man wouldn’t that be nice? That would be sweet, just go in there and whup ass.” Hayden also remarked, â€œBut we’ve got to go out there and do it. We can’t talk about it; we’ve got to be about it.”
Hayden will have an excellent opportunity to â€œbe about it” on game day as Raiders wideouts have been sub par this season as Tyrell Williams, who has been dealing with plantar fasciitis, and Hunter Renfrow are tied for the team lead in receptions amongst wide receivers with a grand total of 36 each.
Now, the 36 receptions by Renfrow is not to belittle what he has done because he wasn’t brought in to be a focal point of the offense right away. The rookie has been rather impressive, whereas the veteran was either going to be the No. 1 or No. 2 option prior to week one but if you ask me, he hasn’t delivered close to what I was expecting.
As the slot corner for the Jags, Hayden in all likelihood will see quite a bit of Hunter Renfrow. A matchup that I believe favors the latter. Will Hayden eat crow or live up to his words? What say you, Rader Nation? Ramble on with me on Twitter or in the comments and share your thoughts.
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