2015 NFL DRAFT
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Casey Hayward

| | College: Vanderbilt
 
Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange
Overview

Hayward was a two-star receiver/cornerback recruit out of high school, choosing Vanderbilt over Troy. He played in every game as a true freshman in 2008, recording 8 tackles, 3 pass break-ups and 1 forced fumble. Hayward became a starting cornerback in 2009 as a sophomore (12 starts), finishing with 58 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups and two interceptions.

He again started all 12 games in 2010 as a junior, recording 70 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, 11 pass breakups, one forced fumble and six interceptions, earning Second Team All-SEC honors. Hayward started all 13 games in 2011 as a senior, finishing with 62 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 10 pass breakups and a career-best seven interceptions (second in the SEC), earning second-team All-SEC honors.

Hayward was a hidden recruiting gem for Vanderbilt, starting all 37 games the past three years, and was very productive in college, collecting 15 pick-offs over his career. He is a very average athlete with ordinary speed and looks out of his element when flipping his hips in order to stay with receivers downfield -- obviously most comfortable in off-man coverage where he can face the action.

Hayward plays more like a free safety, struggling to find the ball and make a play after he's turned around and is ideally suited for a zone scheme where he can use his eyes and anticipation. He will be graded differently by every team depending on the scheme and he has NFL potential in the right defense, but teams know what they're getting with him.

Analysis

Strengths: A coordinated athlete with good footwork and balance. Heady cover player with above-average feel and anticipation in space. Trusts his eyes with very good awareness. Has very good reaction skills to break quickly on the ball. Savvy cover skills to recognize and anticipate routes, understanding what the offense wants to do. Has terrific ball skills with the focus and hands to secure interceptions in traffic. Very opportunistic with 15 career picks the last three years. Tough and aggressive to hold up against the run and work off blocks. Smart, aware and confident and has started every game the past three seasons at Vanderbilt (37 consecutive starts).

Weaknesses: Has only average height and length (30-inch arms) with a slender frame and lean muscle definition. Lacks top-shelf speed and doesn't have great acceleration. Doesn't have elite fluidity and struggles to recover after false steps. Lacks explosion in his transition with upright technique and has inconsistent backpedal, opening his hips prematurely to guard against vertical routes. Doesn't look natural in reverse and needs to keep the play in front of him to be effective. Lacks ideal strength and will be out-muscled by receivers. Inconsistent against the run and needs to improve his tackling fundamentals in order to finish. Too physical and hands-on in coverage, arriving early and attracting pass interference penalties. Lacks much experience in press coverage and appears scheme specific at the next level.

NFL Comparison: Jacob Lacey, Indianapolis Colts

--By Dane Brugler

Career Notes

The SEC's active leader in career interceptions, Hayward also finished his career with 46 defensed passes, 148 solo tackles and three forced fumbles.

2011 Season

Hayward is coming off one of the most productive careers ever by a Vanderbilt defensive back. Hayward completed his collegiate career as the team's co-record holder with 15 interceptions. Hayward shares the record with Leonard Coleman, who played in the 1983 Senior Bowl after an All-America campaign in 1982. Hayward earned All-America honors as a senior. He became the first Commodore All-America since D.J. Moore in 2008 by earning second team recognition by the Walter Camp Foundation, Rivals.com and Yahoo! Sports. He also was named third team All-America by Phil Steele's publications. Hayward is a two-time All-Southeastern Conference recipient. He was named second team All-SEC as a senior by both the league head coaches and sportswriters.

As a senior co-captain, Hayward put together a sensational year, contributing a career-high seven interceptions and 17 passes defended. He also added 46 solo tackles. In his final game as a Commodore, Hayward tied a career high with two interceptions against Cincinnati in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Early in the 2011 campaign, Hayward produced one of the pivotal plays in Vanderbilt's 6-6 regular season - a 50-yard interception return for a score that helped the 'Dores to a comeback win over Connecticut.

2010 Season

One of the top defensive backs in the nation, Hayward continued his excellent play as a junior … Named second team All-SEC DB by both the league coaches and Associated Press writers … Started every game at cornerback, pushing his consecutive starts streak to 24 games … Put together his finest year in Commodore uniform, setting single-season highs in interceptions (6), solo tackles (59), total tackles (70) and passes defended (17) … Ranked first in SEC - and third in NCAA - in passes defended … Interception total ranked second in SEC - and tied for fifth nationally … Posted at least one pass defended in 10 of 12 games and at least three tackles in 11 of 12 games … Had eight tackles, including seven solo stops, to aid victory at Ole Miss … Picked off passes in four consecutive games - LSU, Ole Miss, UConn and Eastern Michigan … Also registered INTs against South Carolina and Tennessee … Also posted nine tackles in Georgia, South Carolina and Arkansas and eight solo stops in finale vs. Wake Forest.

2009 Season

Named team's postseason Most Valuable Defensive Back Award … Started every game at cornerback, though missed much of two games due to injury … Ranked fifth among Commodores in both total tackles (58) and solo tackles (40) … Also topped team with 8.5 tackles for loss, ranked second with seven defensed passes and second with two interceptions … Had three or more tackles in 11 of 12 games … Posted remarkable effort at LSU, contributing career high 13 total tackles and four tackles for loss, earning team's Defensive Player of the Week honor … Also claimed the weekly recognition after contributing six tackles and an interception against Georgia … Also had eight tackles and an interception against Ole Miss.

2008 Season

One of three true freshman to see action during the season, joining safety Sean Richardson and receiver John Cole … Played in every game, participating as nickel back in secondary and on special team coverage units … Played more in the Commodores' Music City Bowl victory than any other games, replacing an injured Moore … Finished the bowl game with a career-high three tackles and pair of defensed passes … Also saw considerable action against Florida and Kentucky … Concluded season with eight total tackles, including three solo stops, and three defensed passes … Contributed two tackles and a forced fumble in victory at Ole Miss.

High School

Three-year team captain and four-year member of team's leadership Council … Three-year starter at QB; two-year starter at DB … Named team's MVP and Houston County Athlete of the Year as senior, helping squad to AAA quarterfinals … Rushed for 1,284 yards and 18 TDs; passed for 1,300 yards and 18 TDs … As DB, had four INTs, returning three for TDs … Averaged 30.5 yards returning kicks … Region 4-AAA Offensive Player of the Year, All-State DB and All-Middle Georgia … Finished career with 39 TD passes and 36 TDs scored … Starting guard in basketball; sprinter/triple jumper in track.

Personal

Casey Hayward Sr … Son of Casey Sr., and Tish Hayward … Born Sept. 9, 1989 … Dad is employed at Lowe's; mom works in residential health care … Has a brother, JeCavesia.

 
 
Latest News
04/29/2012 - A closer look at the Packers' picks: Round 2/62 -- Casey Hayward, CB, 5-11, 192, Vanderbilt...Aggressive, instinctive playmaker should contribute immediately in nickel-heavy scheme and give savvy veteran Charles Woodson more latitude to play a rover position. COULD SURPRISE: Cornerback Casey Hayward: Thompson compensated for the medical-prompted release of Pro Bowl safety Collins before the draft by making a play for the skilled Hayward. He will stay at corner, but winning a starting job would provide intriguing options for the Packers to replace Collins. - The Sports Xchange

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