Green Bay Packers: Why Casey Hayward Will Have a Breakout Season in 2014

Michael KimbleContributor IIIMarch 1, 2014

Green Bay Packers' Casey Hayward is congratulated by teammate Datone Jones (95) after intercepting a pass during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Seattle Seahawks Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Morry Gash/Associated Press

The Green Bay Packers' secondary has plenty of question marks this year, and even though most of those questions involve the safety position, the status of some of their cornerbacks certainly opens up a whole new set of questions.

When healthy, the Packers have plenty of depth at the cornerback position. Tramon Williams has been a solid starter for years, and Sam Shields had a great 2013 season. In addition, young corners Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde and even Davon House have shown different degrees of potential.

Although their situation at that position looks good for now, that can certainly change quickly. Saturday, Adam Schefter broke news that the Packers are letting Sam Shields test free agency, and at the NFL Scouting Combine, head coach Mike McCarthy mentioned that the coaching staff was considering moving Micah Hyde to safety.

If Hyde becomes a safety and Shields signs with another team, the previously deep situation at corner might take a hit, and the Packers may find themselves trying to add another cornerback to their roster.

Regardless, these two events have not only raised questions about Hyde and Shield's futures, but they have also put pressure on the remaining cornerbacks to perform. These two moves also might suggest that the Packers are quite comfortable starting the season with Williams and Casey Hayward as their two starting cornerbacks.

The fact that Williams is starting is no surprise; he has been a starter for years and is one of the few veteran playmakers on the team. Even though he has taken a step back in production in recent years, he is still a talented corner.

The other cornerback who will likely be on top of the depth chart, Hayward, will obviously be a big part of this defense if the Packers move Hyde to safety and let Shields walk. Although Hayward is a young player with limited experience due to being injured in 2013, he showed tremendous potential as a rookie and is clearly in the Packers' future plans on defense.

One of the big problems with the Packers defense is the lack of a playmaker. When he was healthy in 2012, Hayward intercepted six passes and was on the shortlist for defensive rookie of the year. In addition, quarterbacks had a quarterback rating of 31 when throwing against him, the lowest of any corner in the league that year. 

Hayward showed flashes of potential in 2012, and with the cornerback position potentially being put into turmoil with the departure of Shields and moving Hyde to safety, Hayward is primed to be a big part of the Packers' 2014 defense, and given his knack for making plays, he just might have a big year.