He can run with any receiver in the SEC and has shown that he can play physically at the line of scrimmage to disrupt receivers' routes. He brings a confident mentality that he can cover anyone in single coverage given the competition he faced each week in his conference. He has third-round talent.
Is at his best in off coverage where he can sit in routes, read and react, and can simply undercut throws. Displays some natural click and close ability when driving on passes in front of him. However, gets too upright in his drop, doesn't consistently keep his base under him and wastes too much motion out of his breaks.
Not as clean as he could be driving on the football. Picked off 6 passes last year and recorded 17 passes defended. But displays only slightly above-average ball skills.
Will leave some picks on the field and I don't think his ball skills are quite as good as his stats make them out to be. Needs to do a better job catching the football more consistently.
Not real comfortable in man coverage at this stage however. Lacks great straight-line speed and doesn't seem to trust himself on an island. When he plays closer to the line likes to prematurely open up his hips in order to keep receivers from quickly getting behind him, will give up routine separation underneath.
Gets upright when asked to turn and run, doesn't possess the type of second gear to quickly get back up to speed and can easily be taken advantage of by vertical speed. Gets leggy out of his breaks as well trying to re-direct because of his high pad level.
He does locate the football well in all areas of the game, possess good balance when asked to adjust to the throw and possesses the coordination to make a play at the highest point. Is only an average drag down tackler, and lacks pop into contact but takes good angles toward the football and gives an honest effort.
Impression: A smart, productive corner who can consistently make plays on the football. He's not a guy who will consistently hold up in man on the outside in the NFL. However, he's shown the ability to routinely get early jumps on the football and come down with the catch. Looks like one of the safer prospects in the draft as a cover two type guy."
Hayward has quick feet and flexible hips combined with good eyes, instincts and anticipation that enable him to consistently locate, track and play the ball.
Is an unpolished man-to-man defender, as he plays more upright than he should (restricts his transitional fluidity) and shows limited recovery burst/catch-up speed.
At his best when he he's able to read through the receiver to the QB and jump/undercut throws.
Plays small against the run."
Aggressive tackler with adequate size has over 120 tackles the past couple of seasons;
Not super fast, but can jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and can flip hips and turn and run; reads routes well and has excellent ball skills; sees the field well in zone coverage and breaks nicely out of back pedal."