Veteran Casey Hayward could help the Arizona Cardinals at corner in 2023
By Jim Koch
The two-time Pro Bowl cornerback would help the Arizona Cardinals shore up their pass defense during the 2023 campaign.
With the NFL Draft now less than a week away, the Arizona Cardinals assembled a press conference this past Friday to discuss the team's plans for the three-day event. At one point, first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon scoffed at the idea that the Redbirds were currently in "rebuilding" mode. What are observers supposed to think, however, after the front office has added nothing but no-name players to the club's 2023 roster?
The Cards still have a bunch of weak areas to address, and it would be nice if general manager Monti Ossenfort would fill those holes with a few veterans the fans may have heard of. At the moment, the squad could undoubtedly use some help at the cornerback position. It just so happens that an experienced cover guy was released by the Atlanta Falcons just a couple of days ago.
Casey Hayward, a two-time Pro Bowler, could certainly make Arizona's pass defense a bit more formidable next fall. The 33-year-old was sent packing after appearing in just six matchups for Atlanta last season. A shoulder injury that required surgery kept Hayward sidelined for the final 11 games of the 2022 campaign.
The former second-round draft pick out of Vanderbilt University played well in the six contests he appeared in for the Falcons. Hayward totaled 17 tackles (14 solo), a pick and three passes defensed during the first season of a two-year contract he signed with Atlanta back in March of '22.
Casey Hayward would bring a degree of respect to an unheralded Arizona Cardinals cornerbacks group
At the present time, it's presumed that the Cardinals will roll with Antonio Hamilton and Marco Wilson as the starting corners. Few would argue with the fact that the franchise could use an upgrade at the spot. The addition of Hayward would bring more credibility to that segment of the "Big Red" secondary.
After entering the league as the 62nd-overall selection of the Green Bay Packers back in 2012, Hayward went on to play for three additional franchises. Besides the Falcons and the Packers, the 5 foot 11,192 pounder has also spent time with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders. Hayward has racked up 448 tackles, 25 interceptions (two pick-sixes), and a whopping 112 pass breakups in 152 professional appearances (118 starts).
It's time for the Cards to start bringing in individuals who could actually have an impact on their won-loss record. The fanbase will tire quickly of a group that doesn't have the tools to compete. Acquiring well-established contributors like Hayward would be a great way for Ossenfort to remedy what's turning into an extremely ugly situation for Arizona in '23.
(Statistics provided by Wikipedia)