Countdown to Training Camp: D.J. Hayden

Jaguars counting on Hayden to replace Aaron Colvin at nickel cornerback


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The duo Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye is widely regarded as one of the best if not the best cornerback tandem in the NFL. Both Ramsey and Bouye are coming off of All-Pro seasons. Last year Ramsey and Bouye made it a point to explain how having Aaron Colvin at nickel cornerback made their jobs easier. Colvin signed with Houston during free agency and the Jaguars signed D.J. Hayden as his replacement.

Position: Cornerback

2017 Stats (With Detroit Lions): 44 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries and nine passes defended

2018 Projection: Hayden was brought in to play nickel cornerback and that is where he will spend the majority of the time. With Bouye missing some of the off-season program and Ramsey being absent until mandatory minicamp, the Jaguars also got a chance to look at Hayden playing on the outside. 

Having the flexibility to deploy Hayden at both positions is something that defensive coordinator Todd Wash would like to see. Although Hayden hasn’t had an interception in two seasons, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to make plays in Jacksonville. Opposing quarterbacks are going to choose their spots when throwing at Ramsey or Bouye.

Jaguars defensive back’s coach Perry Fewell on how Hayden has looked at nickel back:

“He has really looked well. Initially, it was a rough start because he did not know the defense, but he grew every day, especially in our Phase 2 sessions. He has really grown in our OTAs sessions. There are still some zone coverage responsibilities that he has not seen enough of, so he needs as many reps as he possibly can take so that it becomes rote memory for him. We like what we have seen out of him so far. We really like his man coverage skills, too.”