Casey Hayward wanted to prove doubters wrong. After a few solid years in Green Bay, the Packers decided not to bring him back.
Despite early success, many saw him only as a “slot” cornerback. Luckily, the San Diego Chargers were able to reel in the former second-round pick on a three-year, $15.3 million deal–and they definitely reaped the benefits.
Hayward led the entire NFL with seven interceptions. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl. And now he’s an All-Pro.
The Associated Press revealed its list on Friday, and Hayward was named second-team All-Pro.
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) January 6, 2017
The passionate Hayward remained humble after learning he had been named All-Pro.
“I literally just prayed and told God, ‘thank you,’” Hayward said, via the Chargers official website. “This is a blessing. Not many people can be All-Pro. There were only five corners. No alternates; nothing. To be in that elite group this year is a blessing. I can put this on my bio. No one can ever take this away from me.”
Hayward had the fourth-most votes (eight) among cornerbacks and ranked behind Broncos’ Aqib Talib (27), Chiefs’ Marcus Peters (23) and Giants’ Janoris Jenkins (17) while trying with Patriots’ Malcolm Butler. Talib and Peters were named first-team All-Pro, but you could argue that Hayward should have belonged on that list.
Regardless, it’s still a huge accomplishment. Hayward, 27, will form a scary duo with Jason Verrett when the latter comes back from injury.
Rookie Joey Bosa wasn’t an All-Pro selection, but he did receive one vote among 12 edge defenders. Despite missing four games, Bosa finished with 10.5 sacks in 2016.