Official NFL Scouting Report For ... Hayward

What did the Packers see in Casey Hayward? Read the NFL's official report and you'll understand why general manager Ted Thompson vaulted back into the second round. This is not some scouting report from a guy watching YouTube videos. This is the real deal, delivered to the teams.

NFL Scouting's report on Casey Hayward

Player School Jersey Year Entered Position
Casey Hayward Vanderbilt 19 2008 Cornerback
Height Weight Time (40) Time (20) Time (10)
5:11.1 188 4.53 2.54 1.51
20-yd Shuttle Squat Three-cone Drill Vertical Jump Broad Jump
3.93 460 6.58 37" 10'7"
Bench Press Arms Hands Wing Span Position Pro Rank
225x20 30 1/8" 8 3/4" 72 1/2" Corner/Nickel
2011 Best Games Connecticut, South Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, Florida, Wake Forest, Cincinnati
2011 Worst Games Mississippi, Army, Tennessee
2010 Best Games Mississippi, Connecticut, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wake Forest
2010 Worst Games Northwestern, Arkansas, Kentucky
Body Structure Hayward has a good height, but could use some additional bulk to his frame. He has just adequate arm length and a smallish wingspan, but compensates with fluid hips, good foot quickness and exceptional leaping ability. He has a well-defined frame, with lean muscle tone, tapered thighs and calves, tight waist and hips, minimal body fat (5.6%), small bubble and strong lower body development, which has allowed him to hold ground firmly when taking on blockers playing inside the box.
General Report (7.72)
Athletic Ability (7.2) Hayward has good timed speed, but it is his quick feet and ability to change direction that has made him a quality cover cornerback. He is very fluid and smooth in his movements, but there are times where he will get too upright in his stance (much better when he maintains proper pad level), which sometimes leads to wasted motion coming out of his breaks. He has that natural ability to redirect and flip his hips to stay with receivers on deep routes and recover nicely when his opponent manages to get behind him. When he gets too tall in his pass drops, he will struggle to keep his base under him. He is a short strider with the second gear and burst to close in an instant. He has an outstanding closing burst and accelerates quickly to close. He has the loose hips to redirect, doing a nice job of planting and driving out of his breaks. He maintains good balance on the move and uses his hands well to keep blockers off his feet. He also demonstrates good agility and range on the move, along with the sudden burst out of his backpedal.
Football Sense (7.8) What separates him from most of the other cornerbacks in the 2012 NFL Draft is his keen field vision, above average instincts and excellent ball anticipation skills, along with impressive leaping agility that allow him to climb a receiver and get to the ball at its high point, even when challenged by much taller opponents (see 2011 South Carolina, Army, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Wake Forest games, along with his classic jam vs. 6:10, 280-pound WR Ali Villanueva in the 2009 Army clash). He is a good student of the game and it is rare to see him make the same mistake twice. He has a keen understanding for blocking schemes and could make a fine coaching candidate one day, as he is apt to ask detailed questions to explore every aspect of the play with his coaches.
Character (8.0) Hayward is a "model" citizen who has no known off-field issues. He gets good family support, is a respectful sort with quick wit and that yes sir/no sir attitude that makes scouts and coaches very confident that he is mature beyond his years. He is a leader by example type rather than a rah-rah one, but is well-liked by the staff and teammates. He keeps to himself, is not a partier and gets good two-parent family support. He is very respectful, articulate and has a good attitude, taking well to hard coaching.
Competitiveness (7.8) Hayward plays hard until the whistle and will perform with injuries that normally would sideline even tough players (see early 2009 schedule, where he played while battling through migraine issues). He has very good mental awareness and is a solid practice player that coaches try to convince his younger teammates to emulate. He plays well above what his frame dictates he should, as he will not hesitate to sacrifice his body to make the play. He has no problems sticking his hat into the pile and has been efficient coming up to support vs. the run (see 2011 Connecticut, Florida and Cincinnati, and 2009 LSU and Army games). He plays the receiver tight, showing good aggression and hand placement throughout the route's progression. He is the type of athlete you can count on to come up with the big play. He is confident in his skills and will really get after ball carriers along the perimeter. Simply put, he plays with fine effort and desire and is a leather-tough, willing hitter who will sell out to make the play.
WORK HABITS (7.8) Hayward is a player other teammates look up to due to his work ethic, both on and off the field. He does everything the coaches ask (played special teams as a freshman and moved to free safety vs. Georgia Tech and Florida when injuries hit that unit) and the staff all say he has been a pleasure to work with. He was patient waiting for his opportunity to play and has taken the "bull by the horns" since being inserted into the starting lineup prior to his sophomore season. He will not hesitate to challenge a game plan and is a good self-starter, putting in extra time studying film. He is committed to excelling on the field and can be trusted to follow out any task the coaches put in front of him.
Athletic Report
Key and Diagnostic Skills (7.8) Hayward is a smart, alert pass defender who makes quick reads and shows no hesitation closing on the ball. He is quick to diagnose the play, doing a good job of keeping the action in front of him. He won't bite on play action or fakes and is very active in run support, despite his lack of ideal size to mix it up in the trenches. He seems to have that "sixth sense" of understanding route progression concepts and mirrors the receiver tightly to prevent much separation after the catch. You can see how quick he is able to recognize the play, showing no hesitation to identify his keys and react to the play as it develops (see 2011 Elon, South Carolina, Arkansas and Cincinnati games). His ability to distinguish between pass and run plays, along with rarely ever being fooled by play action or misdirection has led to his tremendous success in making plays at the line of scrimmage or inside the opponent's backfield (see 2009 LSU and Army and 2011 Connecticut, South Carolina and Arkansas games)
Man Coverage Ability (7.1) With his loose hips, suddenness to redirect and true explosion to close, you would think that Hayward would get over-confident and give a big cushion to the receiver, but he prefers to play his man tight, knowing that he has the hand placement ability to impede the receiver's route progression. He has the valid speed to stay with his assignment on deep patterns and does a nice job of getting his body in the way to prevent catches over the opponent's outside shoulder. He can close in an instant and is very quick to react to the ball in flight, showing natural hands to make the interception or pass deflection. He has the burst needed to accelerate and close on plays at the opposite end of the field and has the second gear to catch up on rare times that he is beaten (see 2011 Elon, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee games). He has above average foot quickness which gives him the ability to adjust to the receiver's movements, along with the ability to plant, redirect and flip his hips. However, when he gets too tall and upright in his pass drops, he will take wasted steps (needs to be more sure of himself playing on an island, at times).
Zone Coverage Ability (7.8) Hayward does a very good job of anticipating the ball in flight. He understands zone concepts and is quick to handle the switch-off. He adjusts well to action in front of him, but there are times when he will lose relationship in the switch-off when he takes wasted motions in his pass drops (see 2011 Elon and Tennessee and 2010 South Carolina and Arkansas games). He is good at anticipating the quarterback's moves and really gets an explosive jump on the ball once he locates the path of the pass. He is very effective in press coverage and plays the ball aggressively (has rerouted or jammed receivers on 106-of-242 passes targeted into his area, in addition to recording 31 pass deflections and 15 interceptions in 37 games as a starter). He simply has some of the best comprehension of zone concepts of any defensive back in the draft, and along with some experience at free safety, he could shift inside or perform as a nickel back at the NFL level. He demonstrates suddenness in his movements and reactions, demonstrating excellent overall awareness.
Backpedal Skills (7.2) Hayward has shown much better plant-&-drive agility as a senior than he did in the past (no longer takes soft angle cuts). He stays low in his pads and is quick to come out of his breaks without taking false steps in transition. He accelerates in an instant in attempts to close. There are still some slide technique issues that he needs to correct (must shuffle feet better), but he has a smooth and easy knee bend that lets him come out of his cuts with good explosion. He is very good at flipping his hips and stays square throughout his pedal, showing controlled and smooth foot movement. When he stays low in his pads, he has the ability to suddenly change direction, along with natural and fluid foot movement (smooth and continuous).
Ball Reaction Skills (8.2) Few cornerbacks show the feel for the ball in flight like Hayward displays, especially during his senior year. He looks natural fielding the ball and does a nice job of tracking the pigskin in flight (see 2011 Connecticut, South Carolina, Arkansas and Cincinnati games). He has very good timing trying to leap and attack the ball in flight, showing excellent elevation to reach the pass at its highest point. He does not allow much cushion, but when he does, he is alert to blocking schemes and is quick to close, especially vs. plays in front of him. He has good breakdown ability playing in space and plays the ball with good relationship on the receiver. What you can see on game film is his outstanding ability to break on the ball vs. plays in front of him, especially in run support. With his foot quickness, he shows consistency stepping in front of the receiver to "make the pick" or deflect the pass.
Range/Recovery (7.4) Hayward has the speed to make plays at the opposite end of the field, evident by coming out of his area to make 31 touchdown-saving tackles since becoming a starter 37 games ago (see 2011 Elon, Georgia, Wake Forest and Cincinnati, 2010 Northwestern, Mississippi, Arkansas and Wake Forest and 2009 Mississippi and Kentucky games). He shows urgency closing on the ball and has the recovery burst to compensate when he's beaten on the go route. His catch-up ability is due to his loose hips and explosive acceleration. I really like his recovery speed (much better than his timed speed indicates), as he demonstrates the range and ability to cover lots of ground vs. the ball in the air. He has a strong concept for taking proper angles towards the ball and with his fluid hips, he has no problem trailing or running with receivers when he maintains good pad level coming out of his breaks.
Jumping Ability (7.8) Hayward is fearless attacking the ball in flight and will not hesitate to sell out in attempts to make the play. He times his jumps well and shows natural ball skills extending to catch outside his framework (see 2011 Connecticut, South Carolina, Arkansas and Cincinnati, 2010 South Carolina and Tennessee and 2009 Western Carolina games). His vertical jump lets him get to most vertical balls and he shows good explosion and strength in his legs on attempts to leap. For a smaller defender, he gets more than his fair share of success competing for the ball in flight, as he consistently gets good elevation to vie with the receiver to attack the ball at its highest point.
Hands (8.1) Hayward has natural hands to field and secure the ball before heading up field. He will extend to catch outside his frame and makes a concerted effort to get to the ball in flight. He plays much bigger than his size indicates due to his ball-hawking skills. It is rare to see him use his body to catch the ball and he excels making plays on the tip drill.
Run Defense (7.5) Hayward might lack the "sand in his pants" to prevent from getting absorbed by the bigger blockers, but he is an efficient perimeter tackler with the speed to redirect the outside running game. He needs to generate more power behind his hand punch to play off blocks, especially in tight quarters. He does a good job of keeping his pads down, sinking his hips and lowering his shoulders while driving hard with his legs to make the play. He will not hesitate to take on blockers and is good to break down, but due to a lack of bulk, he is better taking good angles to the ball rather than trying to split blocks. Even though he lacks size, he plays with leverage and explosion. The thing you see on film is that he won't back down when taking on blocks and is very active in attempts to fill the rush lanes (see 2011 Georgia, Tennessee and Cincinnati, 2010 Mississippi and Wake Forest and 2009 LSU, Mississippi and Georgia Tech games). In 2009, he became the first cornerback in school history to lead the team in tackles-for-loss.
Tackling Ability (6.8) Hayward has improved his strength and is more of an impact hitter as a senior than he was in the past, but still lacks that explosive power to suddenly stop the ball carrier in his tracks, as he is more of a low-cut, drag-down wrap-up tackler than one that will blow up his man on every play. He shows good courage taking on bigger blockers and will do an efficient job of breaking down, facing up and wrapping to tackle. He will not hesitate to go low, wrestle the opponent down and knock the receivers out of bounds with a decent thud and he is not intimidated taking on bigger blockers, but size and a small wingspan does prevent him from "blowing them up" and making lots of tackles in the open field.
Summation Has a lean, but defined frame that can carry at least another ten pounds of bulk with no loss in quickness…Shows good thickness in his thighs and calves and a toned upper body torso with surprising power for a player his size…Builds to top speed in a hurry and shows explosive acceleration throughout his running stride…Has the closing burst to instantly make plays in front of him…His second gear is evident by the way he simply races past opponents on kickoff returns…Has very loose hips to redirect and is fluid changing direction…Never takes false steps in transition and shows very good balance on the move…Fearless in run support, closing on the play and pursuing the ball carriers with good form to push the running game back inside from the perimeter…Has a keen understanding of the playbook, but will still spend time dissecting plays to discover ways to improve his technique…Has made good strides in run support, knowing how to keep his pads low and attack the outside leg to impede the running back's forward progress…Hard worker in the training room who also puts in extra hours studying game films…Type of athlete that performs best against top-level competition, as he loves the challenge…Dependable field leader who will spend extra time mentoring the younger players (has a bit of Troy Vincent in him, as he tries to understand the assignments of every position)…Quick to read and react to the ball in flight and shows good confidence in his hand extension and timing on his leaps to get to the ball at its high point…Has the loose hips to quickly get back into the action on the rare times he over-pursues…Has the hand placement and mirror ability to stay tight on the receiver during deep routes…Has an explosive closing burst, doing a good job of keeping the action in front of him…Even with his timed speed, he does not get over-confident and give his opponent a large cushion, preferring to stay tight on his man throughout the route's progression…Demonstrates the body control to accelerate and adjust to the ball in flight…Can play off the ball, knowing he has the timed speed to close on the play…Maintains good relationship with the receiver and when he does eye the backfield, he is smart enough not to bite on play action…Has excellent range to make plays at the opposite end of the field…Very aggressive when combating for jump balls and will not hesitate to sacrifice his body and extend for the ball in a crowd…Shows good patience returning kicks, but is sudden when he spots the crease…Natural hands catcher with the ability to secure the ball outside his frame…More of a low-cut tackler, but has good wrap-up form.
Compares To BRENT GRIMES-Atlanta…Like Grimes, Hayward is a solid pass thief, thanks to outstanding timing, quickness and a good understanding for route progression. He has very good leaping ability to compensate for a lack of ideal size and wingspan combating receivers to get to the ball at its highest point. He makes good adjustments on the move and is an efficient cut tackler who knows how to lower and drive with his shoulder to take the blockers out of action. He will need to continue adding more bulk to his frame, but that should not impact his above average acceleration. Like Grimes, Green Bay's Sam Shields and Houston's Jason Allen, he is smart enough to play a variety of roles in the secondary and his versatility will be a plus earlier in his pro career.

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