Oakland Raiders: Notes And Observations From Preseason Game #2

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Aug 22, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson (12) catches a pass past Oakland Raiders cornerback D.J. Hayden (25) for a touchdown in the second quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

1. D.J. Hayden Doesn’t Look Ready For Prime Time

One of the biggest concerns for the Raiders this offseason has been with their cornerbacks. The fact that McKenzie and Del Rio opted to forgo pursuing a veteran, and going all in on second year players Travis Carrie and Keith McGill, as well as third year – and former first round draft pick – D.J. Hayden not only raised a few eyebrows, it put a real worry into many a Raider fan.

And unfortunately, Hayden has done nothing to dispel any of those fears. On the opening play against the Rams, he was burned on a long pass play. He eventually settled down and played “okay” ball for the rest of his time in the game, but he was far from spectacular. Against the Vikings, he was an absolute train wreck.

The perfect toss from Teddy Bridgewater to Charles Johnson aside, Hayden was repeatedly victimized, drew a costly penalty which sustained a drive, and also gave up a short pass to keep yet another drive alive. Hayden was the weak link in Oakland’s secondary. Bridgewater and the Vikings knew it and exploited it time and time again.

Despite the fact that he’s fully healthy for the first time in his career, Hayden is looking more and more inconsistent on the field. He is being burned with an alarming regularity and is not looking anything like a top tier cornerback. To be blunt, he’s not even looking like a middle of the road corner. He has talent and at times, has flashed amazing ability. But those moments are few and far between.

Unless Hayden is able to turn it around quickly, he’s in danger of being buried on the depth chart as the Raiders will have no choice but to go with McGill, Carrie, Neiko Thorpe, and perhaps even Chimdi Chekwa ahead of him.

Hayden has a lot of work to do if he wants to be considered anything but a liability at this point.

Next: WR Logjam More Illusion Than Reality