JACKSONVILLE – D.J. Hayden's a guy who likes his work.
Yes, that means playing football for the Jaguars – but just as much, it means playing his position for the Jaguars. Hayden is the Jaguars' nickel back. And he very definitely likes that.
"I feel like you've got to have a football IQ," Hayden said of playing nickel corner. "It's kind of like one of the dirty jobs, but it's fun, though. You get to blitz. You get to make a lot of tackles. It's fun."
Hayden, a eight-year NFL veteran and former first-round selection who in two seasons with the Jaguars has emerged as one of the NFL's best players at that dirty job, joined senior writer John Oehser for this week's O-Zone podcast. He discussed the intricacies of his position and talked about what he likes about the 2020 Jaguars.
"We've got damned near a new team from when I first started [with the Jaguars in 2018]," Hayden said. "That's just the nature of the game. They move guys in out. That's just how it is. But with the guys we have now, I believe we have the chance to do something special. If we put all the work in and gel together, I believe the sky's the limit for this team.
"We've just got to make it happen, take advantage of all the opportunities and make the best of it."
Hayden said the turnover – along with the youth of the Jaguars – has changed his approach somewhat.
"I feel like this past year I kind of had to step up a little more to be a more vocal leader," Hayden said, "but yeah … they're going to count on my leadership this season and I'm ready. I'm ready to get in and work. I'm excited."
Hayden, among other topics, also discussed the recent "Last Dance" documentary on ESPN and left no doubt about his side in the debate over who's better between NBA greats LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
"MJ," he said.
To listen to the O-Zone podcast with Hayden, click here.