Welcome to the next installment of Keep or Cut. In an attempt to remain objective I'm going to use the Homer vs. Haters format to make the case for both sides. Big Nick just finished his second season with the Panthers after being drafted in the 6th round (#181) of the '08 draft. Hayden got off to a slow start as a rookie, playing in only two games at the end of season and logging 3 tackles. This past season Hayden saw a significant increase in appearances, getting time in 10 games and 17 combined tackles. Hayden also recorded is first sack in the week 13 Bucs game. Hayden's best day as a pro was easily the Patriots game, when Hayden recorded 8 combined tackles. The former Badger still loves to play in the cold weather!
more after the jump...
Hayden is still young and could develop into an effective pass rusher, he at least has enough promise to bring him back to camp and compete. Hayden is a lunch pail kind of guy who falls in the ‘high motor category', just as former Panthers DT Jordan Carstens once did. Plus he will be one of the cheaper options the Panthers could have to fill one of those back-up DT spots. Hayden is very coachable and is willing to sell out on every given play, something that can lift the play of the whole defensive line.
The Panthers will be deep at DT this year and Hayden seems to have little upside left. Though he does play with vigor he is limited athletically and still lacks the technique to keep from getting pushed around in the running game. It's only a matter time before Hayden loses the numbers game, why not cut him loose now and let him start fresh somewhere where he has a real chance to make the roster? The tribal tattoos on his biceps are cool but it's still time to cut bait with Nick Hayden.
So what say ye Panther fans? Should we keep Nick or cut him?