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Raiders defensive X-Factor: Casey Hayward

Veteran addition may be key the for new-look Las Vegas defense

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers
Casey Hayward
Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

We previously looked at the Las Vegas’ Raiders 2021 offensive X-Factor, now it’s time to turn attention to the defensive side of the ball for the mighty Jon Gruden.

Just a reminder, an X-Factor in my mind is a player who may nor be a star, but someone who is incredibly important to his side of the ball.

Las Vegas Raiders defensive 2021 X-Factor:
Cornerback Casey Hayward
Why: I don’t think Hayward would have been my choice immediately after the Raiders’ signed the veteran — who has played for new Las Vegas defensive coordinator Gus Bradley for the past four years with the Chargers. But since Hayward signed his one-year contract with the Raiders, there has been a lot of noise that he is going to have a big role on the defense. His teammates have been signing their praises of Hayward and it looks like he is going to have a big impact. I expect him to start over second-year player Damon Arnette.

Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Trayvon Mullen
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Other players considered:
Defensive end Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell, linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, cornerback Trayvon Mullen, safeties Johnathan Abram and Tre’von Moehrig.

Bottom line:
Yes, I had choices, but I feel good about the Hayward choice. The Raiders badly need a veteran presence in the secondary and Hayward was the choice. I think the coaching staff has big plans for him.