D.J. Hayden Jersey

Upon looking at the Jacksonville Jaguars free agent signings last offseason, cornerback D.J. Hayden was arguably the most puzzling — but when fast forwarding to present day, it appears to be the best one. Simply put, aside from the toe injury that sidelined him for numerous weeks, the veteran showed up when his number was called and proved to be better than the nickelback before him in Aaron Colvin. By the end of the season, the veteran had accumulated 46 tackles, four pass breakups and an interception good for a Pro Football Focus grade of 74.8. The number was shockingly better than that of star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who acquired a 72.8.

The free agent group Hayden came in with included guard Andrew Norwell, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and receiver Marqise Lee, all of whom ended up on injured reserve, which most will point out as the reason he was able to earn the title as the team’s top 2018 signing. Still, despite the rash of injuries that occurred to his comrades, Hayden’s performance in 2018 shouldn’t be overlooked as he previously had a PFF grade of 50.7 in 2017 with the Detroit Lions. In a nutshell, his jump to a 74.8 shows he made great strides as a player, and if he’s healthier in 2019 it’s not out of the question for him to improve even more.

Some of the receiving groups the Jags will face in 2019 include those of the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts, all of whom will be big-time challenges for Hayden and the Jags secondary. However, if he handles his business as he did in 2018, he could find himself under Pro Bowl consideration as Ramsey will get plenty of eyes on the Jags’ secondary this upcoming season.

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