Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward had a breakout season in 2016. Despite turning in a Pro Bowl performance, NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks says Hayward is a system guy.
In a recent article published by analyst Bucky Brooks, the debate between whether or not some NFL players (ones that were selected in NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2016) were stars or simply thrived because of the scheme they were in was at hand.
Casey Hayward was one of the players mentioned in the article, and Brooks says Hayward is a system guy.
Here’s Brooks’ analysis:
“Utilizing a traditional backpedal or a “bail” technique (side-shuffle), Hayward keeps enough distance between himself and the receiver to see the big picture and react accordingly based on the route combination. This makes him a perfect fit for a team that employs a lot of zone coverage because this allows a corner to play with vision on the quarterback instead of locking in on his man. This might be why Hayward has played at an “A” level with the Chargers after a pretty nondescript four-year tenure in Green Bay.”
Brooks does commend Hayward for his combination of ball skills, instincts and playmaking ability, and he believes the first-time Pro Bowler will remain a top playmaker but because of the Chargers’ defensive scheme.
Scheme or not, Hayward dominated.
Los Angeles Chargers CB Casey Hayward this season:58.1% Catch Rate Allowed12.7 Yards/Catch1 TD7 INT9 Pass Breakups53.4 Passer Rating
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) January 12, 2017
Hayward finished with a league-leading seven interceptions. According to Pro Football Focus, the former Packer ranked No. 6 overall among cornerbacks last season. The statistics are more impressive when you realize that he ranked second among corners with the most coverage snaps following No. 1 receivers, per PFF.
What do you guys think? Is Hayward a star (or upcoming star), or was he a beneficiary of the scheme?