The big news out of Raiders’ Mini-camp has been the absence of last year’s 1st round pick D.J. Hayden. After being injured off and on last season, the corner back has left many fans disappointed that he has been unable to stay on the field. So much disappointment that many people are already calling him a bust, but I am here to say lets simmer down.
I get Raider-nation wants to see what Reggie Mckenzie’s first No ! pick can do, but he is only entering his second off season. How can you call him a bust already, before he can even piece together a real season? The best argument would be that he might not be able to complete a full-season, and might just be an injury prone guy. Yet, lets not get ahead of ourselves, as injuries happen to every single player.
As Raider fans we grow nervous because of players like Darren McFadden who have broken our heart over and over again. Yet injuries are part of the game, and young players have to learn to deal with them. Silver innings are usually BS, but Hayden’s injury means he will be able to get mental reps that should help him when he can get out there again.
Out of all the players on the Roster, I think DJ Hayden needs these off season reps more than anyone. Hayden was out of football for an entire year due to his extreme chest injury, and he still needs time adapting to the speed of the game. However, the young player has shown he can deal with the adversity of injuries as he came in willing and ready to compete after each of his injuries.
In the past, Hayden has shown an injury will not keep him from competing. Nor will it discourage him from believing in his abilities. Hence, I hope he takes the time to get fully healed before the real season comes along, because that is when real lingering injuries occur.
Further, Hayden is still an extremely young player with a lot of upside. His speed and athleticism are something you can not teach, but his football iq and work ethic should keep fans believing he can live up to his potential. This season, he added fifteen pounds of muscle so his body could take the pounding of the NFL, which illustrates his work ethic.
As fans, it is frustrating that he is already out, but lets remember it is only mini-camp. They are still not actually playing football, so until Hayden misses some time in actual pads then I will worry. Other than that our secondary is going to need depth, so getting McGill and Chidekwa reps is just as important.
Either way it was too early in Hayden’s career and the 2014 season to label Hayden a bust. Our team wants and needs him, so lets be a little more fair to him and give his game and health a little more time before labeling him a bust.
Saying who we could have drafted last season does us no good. The fact is, Hayden was drafted to be a cornerstone of our defense and it is our job as fans to support him as he strives to meet that goal. Labeling him a bust does nothing good for a player we fans want to see succeed, especially this early.