Experience Draft Day One in Arlington with exclusive photos of Bolts first-round pick, Derwin James.
Casey Hayward's phone has been buzzing nonstop since the Chargers selected safety Derwin James 17th overall.
The texts just keep pouring in from players around the league, and they all pretty much say the same thing.
"They're all texting me, 'Damn, you guys got the steal of the draft!' Hayward said with a hearty laugh. "They're telling me we got a Pro Bowl-caliber player."
They were only reiterating what Hayward already knew.
Not only was the two-time Pro Bowler a fan of James after watching him at Florida State, but the two have become good friends over the past few months leading into Thursday night.
"We have the same agent and the same financial people," Hayward explained. "We started hanging out a bunch of times, and he's a real cool kid. I think we've got a really good player who can do it all. I'd been watching him before that because he played with one of my guys, Jalen Ramsey. So I knew of him. But then we started really hanging out the last six months. It's crazy to think we get to play together. I thought there was no way it would happen. I know everyone on our staff, and on our team, are excited he was there. I can't wait to play with him coming up."
The Bolts already boast a loaded secondary featuring the likes of Jason Verrett, Desmond King, Trevor Williams, Jahleel Addae and others in addition to Hayward.
James' presence makes that stacked secondary even more formidable.
"Man, he is going to help right away," Hayward said. "He does a lot of things and plays multiple positions. He can do a lot of things we did last year when we had six DBs on the field. He can play free safety, strong safety and even at linebacker. We can put him in the slot. He actually played corner when he was at Florida State. He plays pretty much every position on the field besides defensive tackle!"
While James' potential is endless, Hayward knows it's up to him to ease the transition to the NFL.
"I just want to make him feel at home right away," he said. "That's what it's about; trying to make people feel the same way the guys made me feel when I came (in). They made me feel like part of the family right away, and that's what we'll do. We have a strong, family-oriented secondary. He's going to fit right in."