Daelin Hayes - EDGE, Notre Dame
By the numbers:
6'3", 261 pounds.
32" arms, 80-1/4" wingspan per Senior Bowl measurements.
2020: 17 tackles (6.0 for loss), three sacks and an interception in nine games.
Daelin Hayes may not have the most enticing repertoire and skill set present in the NFL Draft's other 2021 EDGE prospects, but he's a smart and savvy player. His work ethic, leadership qualities, football IQ and character are all plus traits. He plays with good strength and while that's likely the closest thing to a calling card he possesses, he brings a bit more to the table.
Hayes is capable of winning with his hands. He's far from a technician, but he understands leverage and knows what works for him. His pass-rush mix is relatively limited at this point, which partially contributes to his less-than-stellar production. Hayes can set a quality edge against the run.
Albeit in flashes, Hayes displays decent athleticism. He seems to have some important pass-rushing tools (first step, bend, etc.) in his arsenal but doesn't use them consistently. Because he lacks a go-to or elite trait, Hayes' potential is capped. His recent production doesn't make matters much better, as he left Notre Dame an improved player but didn't make the leap many expected for years.
How Hayes fits with the Chiefs:
In terms of measurables, Hayes is teetering on the low end of the Steve Spagnuolo size spectrum but barely sneaks into that range. He makes sense as a rotational EDGE piece, similar to 2020 fifth-round pick Mike Danna. Hayes offers more upside due to the fact that if he ever puts everything together, the NFL will be looking at a totally different player. That's a huge if, though.
Hayes' strength and football smarts, combined with his high character, make him an interesting option on Day 3 of the NFL Draft. His flashes of being a quality player should be enough to keep his draft stock afloat and if he continues to have a good showing at the Senior Bowl, he'll likely rise up many draft boards. He grades out as a late-fourth or early-fifth round pick.