Casey Hayward: A Closer Look at the Rookie's Surprising Start

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIOctober 19, 2012

Casey Hayward is playing above expectations
Casey Hayward is playing above expectationsBob Levey/Getty Images

Green Bay struggled mightily last year against the pass, allowing 4,796 yards in the air.  This was the most pass yards allowed in a season in the history of the NFL.  

The team that finished last year 15-1, only to lose their first playoff game, desperately needed to fix their pass defense over the offseason, and decided to do so by drafting mostly defensive players.

Among the players drafted this year was Casey Hayward.

Green Bay selected Hayward in the second round out of Vanderbilt University.  The cornerback is listed at 5'11'' and 192 pounds.

Hayward joined a group of cornerbacks that included some big names, including Pro Bowlers Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams.  Before the season started, it appeared that Hayward would spend this year developing underneath these star players.

During the preseason, it became clear that coach Mike McCarthy and his staff were planning to transition Woodson to safety.  Without Woodson's presence, other players would be needed to play in the secondary for certain schemes.  

Hayward was one of the players they decided to start putting in.

Hayward started the season playing mostly during obvious passing downs. The coaching staff decided to start putting him in progressively more after a few weeks.

Hayward certainly accepted the challenge.

During the game against Indianapolis in Week 5, Hayward was put in to cover Reggie Wayne man-to-man.  The ball was thrown to Wayne, but Hayward made a great jump on the ball, and was able to get his first career interception.

Hayward stepped up big in the fourth quarter at Houston in Week 6, picking off both Matt Schaub and TJ Yates.

Hayward currently leads his team, and all rookies, in interceptions with three.  Along with this, he also has six pass deflections.

Hayward has stepped up to the challenge at this point, and Green Bay is looking to find more ways to capitalize on his skills.