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Why Mike Daniels Couldn't Stop Raving about Casey Hayward

In 2012, the Green Bay Packers selected cornerback Casey Hayward in the second round of the NFL Draft and defensive tackle Mike Daniels in the fourth.

Fast forward to 2016, and Hayward left the Packers as a free agent to join the Chargers. 

When you talk to Chargers players about Hayward, their reactions describe just how much he means to this locker room.  But when you chat with former teammates of the two-time Pro Bowler, it's clear Hayward's infectious personality and love for the game has left a lasting impression.

"That's my boy!" exclaimed Daniels after the third day of Pro Bowl practice. "As you know, he's a great player.  He came out for us and had six interceptions as a rookie.  He had an unfortunate hamstring injury and then the next year they (changed) some things with the lineup, but Casey was still a really consistent football player, and he's a great person too."

Hayward has been nothing if not consistent since joining the Chargers.  Over the past two seasons, he's recorded 83 total tackles while notching 11 interceptions, 42 passes defensed, three tackles for loss, and two fumble recoveries.  

But what is it about Hayward that makes him so good at what he does?  Just ask his former defensive draftmate, and he'll tell you it isn't just one thing.

"He's a ballhawk," Daniels continued.  "He knows how to get after the football.  When the ball's in the air, that's his ball.  He's going to get it.  He plays tough.   He's not afraid to tackle and not afraid to hit.  I have a lot of respect for Casey."

His success out west hasn't gone unnoticed from his former teammates like Daniels up north.  He says the pair still keep in touch, and it seems like there are a whole lot of Packers players tuning in and continuing to root for Hayward.

"I'm just so happy for him.  Obviously, I'd still love to have him in Green Bay, as we all do say, but I'm just happy to see him be so successful.  He's doing a heck of a job.  I'm happy for him, I'm proud of him….  I check in on him periodically telling him, 'Man, keep it up because we're always watching and saying, we wish we still had him!'  But (I tell him), 'Thank you.'  I thank him.  I always thank him for doing well, and he's doing a great job."

Glance through the two-time Pro Bowl and Second Team All-Pro cornerback's top photos from the 2017 season.

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