Hayden was selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, but his four-year tenure was marred by injuries and erratic play.
The 26-year-old signed with the Detroit Lions during the offseason, and McKenzie supported his decision.
“I think he probably made a good decision by getting away from Oakland,” McKenzie said recently via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “Fresh start.”
Hayden was hospitalized due to complications from a previous surgery after being drafted, and McKenzie believes if he continues to remain healthy, he’ll become the cornerback the Raiders once envisioned.
“All he lacked, and it’s hard coming from a near-death situation and being thrown right in and had a couple relapses because of the illness, but he was always playing behind the 8-ball from a physical standpoint,” McKenzie said. “So if he gets that behind him, his confidence will grow. And that’s what he needed. Confidence. He never, I think in his whole time in Oakland, the confidence for him to really thrive was not where it needed to be.”
Lions general manager Bob Quinn and the rest of the team’s personnel are certainly hoping McKenzie’s evaluation rings true.
Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.