While the beginning of the week here at Hoag Performance Center has focused on veterans continuing Phase II of the offseason program, the end of the week will mark the first on-field action for some of the team’s newest players. The rookies.
With rookie minicamp on the horizon, many of the team’s vets reminisced about what their first pro season was like. One of those players was Casey Hayward.
This season will mark Hayward’s eighth in the league, his tenure proving he knows a thing or two about what it takes to make it in the NFL.
As for some of that advice, Hayward believes they have to be ready to soak up knowledge both in and out of the classroom.
“I say just come in and try to learn,” Hayward mentioned. “Come in and try to learn. I think the hardest part is learning the playbook and trying to learn how to be a pro.”
So what does being a pro actually mean? According to Hayward, it’s having that eagerness and zeal to learn.
“Coming in you have all the time on your hands,” he said. “You’re here all day. Be able to come in here, study, watch film (and) learn how to watch film because it’s definitely a little different. The hashes are different. It’s not going to be the same as college. You have to learn how to come in here and work.”
Ask Hayward and he’s the first to admit he didn’t know how to act this way when he first got into the league. However, he quickly learned after a vet provided support for him when he was a rookie. He also mentioned how the rookies should look to last year’s first round pick for how to handle themselves when they arrive. The way Derwin James carried himself ultimately paid dividends for what he accomplished in 2018.
“I know that my first year, I didn’t know how to be a pro. But I got underneath an older guy’s wing and he told me how to be a pro. Hopefully, they can come in and try to learn just like (Derwin James) DJ did last year. (A) couple of the older guys, safeties, took him under their wings and he was able to flourish. He was one of those guys who came in, he didn’t have a big ego, and he was able to learn from some of the older guys and you see what it did for him.”