New Lions CB Hayden has jump start on building chemistry

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park – Chemistry is huge to the success of an NFL secondary, a unit which must be able to quickly communicate and adjust on the fly. The Detroit Lions are returning their entire starting group next season, and new addition, cornerback D.J. Hayden, has a jump start on building the important relationships with his defensive back mates.

Cornerback DJ Hayden will likely compete at both inside and outside cornerback for the Detroit Lions in 2017.

Hayden, who officially signed with the Lions on Saturday, worked out with new teammates Darius Slay and Glover Quin during the 2016 offseason and hopes to do so again this year.

“Yeah, I talked to both of them,” Hayden said. “That’s something I’m definitely interested in, so we can get our chemistry down. We’re a team now. For us to get our chemistry down, it would be great for the team, so we can win some games this year.”

Quin, who calls Houston home when not in Detroit, has been known to host teammates for workouts during the offseason. At some point, he got connected with Hayden, the area native who also starred for the University of Houston.

A first-round pick in 2013, the same year Slay was selected by the Lions in the second round, the 5-foot-11 Hayden never lived up to his draft status in four years with the Oakland Raiders. But last season, a move inside to cover the slot seemed to get the best out of the fourth-year pro.

Hayden doesn’t know how the Lions plan to use him, but he’s open to any role in the defensive backfield or on special teams.

“I’m a fast-twitch guy,” Hayden said. “I’m not the tallest corner in the league, but I feel like I can matchup with any receiver. I can run with anybody. I just want to make plays, work hard and make plays.”

It’s expected that Hayden will compete with both Nevin Lawson and Quandre Diggs for a starting job.

“Moving on to the future, I plan on playing to my max potential,” Hayden said.