Raiders Coaches Sending A Message To D.J. Hayden Headed Into Training Camp?

One of the more interesting stories of the offseason has been general manager Reggie McKenzie’s clear confidence in the Raiders’ young cornerbacks. Despite the fact that D.J. Hayden, T.J. Carrie, and Keith McGill have fewer combined starts (15) than Khalil Mack (16), McKenzie passed on every top cornerback in free agency and didn’t draft a cornerback until the team’s final pick in the seventh round.


As of now, the Raiders have 10 cornerbacks on the roster, but as training camp begins this week, all eyes will be on D.J. Hayden. Much has been made of Hayden losing first-team reps to Keith McGill in OTA sessions. The significance of that situation remains to be seen, but it’s difficult to spin it as a positive for Hayden.

We know the new coaching staff has no ties to Hayden. He won’t be on scholarship from Jack Del Rio and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. is already talking about the length Oakland has at cornerback. Hayden is 5’11. He had good things to say about Hayden, but all things equal and coming from Seattle, would it surprise anyone if Norton Jr. gave the edge to a longer cornerback? McGill is 6’3 with 33 1/4-inch arms and 10 1/4-inch hands.

From last year, Raiders’ cornerback group (McGill far left, Hayden far right) flexing for the camera.

By all accounts, Hayden is healthy and his offseason training in Houston has gone according to plan, but it’s clear the Raiders’ coaching staff decided to send a message to the former first-round pick in OTAs – it’s time to (you know what) or get off the pot. My guess is that Hayden will respond with some success. From there, the question will be, can he stay healthy? That answer could very well bring the story full circle again.

About the lanky cornerback stealing first-team reps from D.J. Hayden in OTAs…