The Detroit Lions Have Added Cornerback D.J. Hayden To The Roster
After a crazy Thursday for free agency, Detroit has already made a move Friday morning. Yesterday we saw star linebacker DeAndre Levy get cut, starting right tackle Riley Reiff sign with the Vikings and starting right guard Larry Warford sign with the Saints. Detroit did have plans for some of these moves though. They brought in Rick Wagner, (who is still in need of a signature on his contract), had guard TJ Lang come in for a visit and helped the linebacker and defensive line situation with Paul Worrilow, Akeem Spence and Cornelius Washington.
Today they woke up the Lion nation with an addition to the secondary with cornerback D.J. Hayden, a former Oakland Raider who signed a one year, $5.25 million deal. This leaves questions that need to be answered.
Who is D.J. Hayden?
D.J. Hayden was the Oakland Raiders version of DeAndre Levy. Sure Hayden wasn’t costing the Raiders nearly what the Lions were paying Levy but he had some injury issues that caused him to miss a lot of time during his four years in Oakland. Out of the 64 possible games he could have played in since his rookie year, Hayden played in only 45, and started only 25. The former first round pick in 2013 wasn’t working as an outside cornerback, so he moved to the slot and did about the same. He has penalty issues as well, getting 12 last season, tied for third with offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and Ereck Flowers.
His career numbers in Oakland are average for a player who has missed a lot of playing time. He has 180 total tackles, 26 pass deflections, three forced fumbles and interceptions, and one sack. The good thing about the D.J. Hayden contract? It is incentive based, meaning he has to reach a certain number to receive all of that money. No word has been released on how much or what it the number is, but one can assume it deals with his health.
Will Detroit Still Target a Cornerback in the Draft?
They should. Hayden struggled at covering the outside, so if Detroit thinks they can have him as the number two cornerback on the team they might be biting off more than they can chew. If Hayden moves to the inside, then he is now competing with Nevin Lawson and Quandre Diggs for roles in that spot as the number three cornerback.
This draft is too deep at the cornerback position for Detroit to pass up on one. If Hayden goes down, then they are back to where they were last season, and we all saw how last season went in the secondary. Detroit should still target a cornerback in the early rounds of the draft before all of the talented and starter-capable ones are gone and you end up with a project type of guy.