Day 3 prospect: Daelin Hayes, EDGE, Notre Dame
One prospect generating more buzz by getting playing time in 2020 is Notre Dame’s, Daelin Hayes. After suffering a torn labrum in 2019, Hayes elected to use his redshirt season in 2019 to come back and play in 2020. Standing at 6’3″ and 260 pounds, the Notre Dame pass rusher wins with impressive hand usage, foot quickness, power at the point of attack, and intelligence.
Hayes utilizes his size and length well against the run. He showcases very good hand strength at the point of attack to knock offensive linemen off their spot. His intelligence when reading options and offensive line blocking schemes shows up consistently. When setting the edge, he shows the ability to sustain blockers with very good discipline to force running backs inside.
Hayes has several initial moves when it comes to rushing the passer, including the bull rush, inside spin, dip and rip, and an outside fake. He’s shown some improvement with his counters in 2020, but work is still needed to put these together. Most of his wins come off of his initial move or his relentless motor. There’s some slipperiness to him when utilizing his quickness to rush into the B gap that throws off interior offensive linemen for quick penetration. His hand strength could be utilized more often to stack and shed blockers, but he looks to control them more than break free to make a play.
During the 2020 season, Hayes has shown improvements after missing most of the 2019 season. He can prove himself as a Day 2 pick, but as of right now, he will likely be drafted on Day 3. The desired speed and agility paired with flexibility aren’t there, and he will have to become more consistent with his technique and counters to be a starter in the NFL. Injuries will also be a concern for some teams. Most of his senior season of high school was missed due to a separated shoulder injury. Outside of his torn labrum suffered in 2019, he’s only missed one game in college.
Overall, average athleticism and lack of counters will make him a Day 3 pick for the NFL Draft most likely. Hayes has the prototypical size for the defensive end position in an even front, but adding a little more bulk might benefit him and allow him to play more 5-technique at the next level. The defensive coaching staff for Kansas City has proven they can develop defensive linemen to be a viable option later in the draft to be a strong rotational player in a season or two.