Cornerback requires more confidence and swagger than perhaps any position on the football field.
One conversation with Casey Hayward is all you need to learn the Chargers' newest cornerback has it in droves.
Moments after officially signing a three-year contract with the Bolts, the former Packer explained how the right fit was of the utmost importance when deciding where to play. While Hayward confidently explained how his versatility makes him a fit in any system, he listed numerous reasons why the Chargers in particular were the best choice.
"I can fit any scheme," he said. "I can play man and zone because I am great with my eyes. That is what you need to play all different types of man and zone schemes…. I think this is a great fit for the things I do. For me, (that's) playing inside and outside. They use a lot of three cornerback (packages) here. Hopefully I can come over here and compete (to) become one of those top two cornerbacks. I think this team gives me that opportunity. I prefer to play wherever I can make plays, and I think they are going to do a great job of moving me around. (They'll do) a great job of putting me in position to make a lot of plays."
Hayward's hope is to form one of the NFL's "top secondaries" alongside Jason Verrett and Brandon Flowers. A big fan of their styles, the 5-11, 192-pounder believes his game compliments his new teammates.
"My style of play is probably similar to those guys," he said. "Jason will get up there and get in your face. He's a press guy, and I actually love his game. Brandon is a veteran guy that does the same thing. I can do the same thing. I'm good with my eyes, (have) great instincts, great ball skills and hopefully I can bring some of that to the table here in San Diego. Hopefully I can get the ball a lot more here in San Diego as well. It's all about turnovers and getting the ball back for the offense. Getting Philip (Rivers) the ball as much as possible with Keenan (Allen) and all those guys."
The newest Charger knows just how important it is to get the ball in number 17's hands. Hayward finds himself in a similar situation going from one explosive offense under a top quarterback to another. In fact, he saw firsthand how explosive San Diego's offense can be as Rivers had a franchise-setting performance at Lambeau Field last season.
"Did you see how many yards they put up against us?' he laughed. "They broke a record on us, so I'm very impressed especially with that offense."
Hayward has been a ball hawk for most of his career. He introduced himself in a major way in 2012 by leading all NFL rookies with six interceptions and 21 passes defensed. After missing most of the following year with a hamstring injury, he led Green Bay for the second time in a season with three interceptions in 2014. While Hayward didn't record a single pick last season, he explained how it was a matter of unfortunate circumstances.
"That is a bit deceiving because I had two interceptions that they called back for penalties (away from the play). I had some bad breaks where balls got tipped before it got to me and I was in position to intercept it. So it was unlucky. If people watched the tape, I was still around the ball a lot. The opportunities just weren't there as much as previous years, but I'm still a ball hawk."
Hayward also believes he's a strong fit for the Bolts because of his conversations with John Pagano. San Diego's defensive coordinator has already met a couple times with his newest playmaker, and explained how he sees the cornerback being used in the Chargers' scheme.
"It was a good talk. I talked to him yesterday and today, and he was excited just like I'm excited to be here. He knows what I bring to the table. I can play inside and outside, I can blitz (and) I can do a whole bunch of things for this team. He's ready to use me, and I'm ready to be used in a football aspect. So I'm very excited to play under this young defense, and I think we're going to make the right strides to go out here and compete to be in the playoffs. Hopefully we can get to the Super Bowl."
Take a look at new Charger CB Casey Hayward in action and defending the ball.