The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame announced today that they will honor cornerback Casey Hayward with its Rookie of the Year Award at the Hall’s annual induction banquet set for July 20 at the Lambeau Field Atrium.
That’s a great honor for a player who was just a few votes away from being named as the NFL’s Rookie of the Year at the conclusion of last year. While that was a disappointment, being named by his own team’s hall of fame to the same honor has got to get the juices going for Hayward.
Hayward was drafted by the Packers 62nd overall in the second round out of Vanderbilt. His Combine skills were nothing special, but he had something the Packers scouts recognized – cover skills, toughness and a nose for the football. And it didn’t take long last year for Hayward to showcase his abilities.
When Davon House and Charles Woodson both went down with injuries in the early going, Hayward stepped in and never stepped out. When it was all said and done at the end of the season, Hayward had picked off six passes, defensed 21, had one forced fumble, made 35 tackles and had 13 assisted tackles. Not bad for a rookie.
Expect him to only get better.
Because of the competition at the position. With House back in form and the Packers’ drafting of Micah Hyde, in addition to Sam Shields, Tramon Williams and Jarrett Bush, and one can see why the Packers are so deep at the position. While Hayward spent the majority of last season as a starter, he will be pushed this year – to the limit. He’s going to have to take his play from last season and turn it up a notch. That will only make him better.
Expect that to happen. He will improve and the Packers will improve.