Report: DJ Hayden Has “Stranglehold” As Raiders Slot Corner

Since his arrival in Oakland in 2013, D.J. Hayden has been somewhat of an enigma. Talented enough to be drafted 12th overall (even while recovering from a life-threatening injury), Hayden has hardly lived up to expectations – as evidenced by the Raiders unwillingness to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal.

Now entering a contract year, Hayden should have every motivation to prove his value – something that Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group says is already happening. According to McDonald, Hayden has a “stranglehold” on the Raiders depth chart at slot cornerback. It’s a new role for Hayden, and evidently a position where the Raider coaching staff has confidence in him.

If Hayden holds on, the odd man out will be T.J. Carrie, who has experience everywhere in the secondary, but hasn’t been able to stake a claim at any position.

Depth, of course, will be essential as the season progresses and the Raiders week one opponent – the Saints – will test every level of Jack Del Rio’s secondary. If Hayden (or anyone else for that matter) are identified as a weak link, expect little mercy from Drew Brees and the Saints’ ever-explosive offense.

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