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Notre Dame Football

Daelin Hayes Off & Running in Baltimore

May 15, 2021

Daelin Hayes has officially started his NFL career as the Baltimore Ravens opened mini-camp earlier this week. 

The former Notre Dame defensive end grew up a Ravens fan, so arriving at the football facility was quite the moment for Hayes. 

"It's just rich in tradition," said Hayes. "I got goosebumps when I first came into the building. You talk about a long line of great players that came before you - the standard is the standard and you feel that when you walk in this building. It's a feeling of excellence. 

"It just fired me up. I was excited to get to work and anxious to get on the field today. It was a great feeling." 

Jobs aren't won or lost at rookie mini-camp as it's more of a chance for coaches to see players run around and teach them fundamentals and scheme. 

However, Hayes is taking it seriously while also understanding it’s a chance to jumpstart himself for training camp. 

"Just to get better each and every day," Hayes said. "Taking small steps, whether it be learning the defense, closing the front, getting our assignments down, or playing with technique. Obviously, we don't have full pads right, so everything is about playing fast and with extreme detail to your technique." 

Hayes is also taking advice from his peers seriously as he starts his career. 

Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara were rookies last year and likely passed along some valuable knowledge to the 6-foot-4, 255-pounder.

"At Notre Dame, we've had a lot of guys, especially in my class last year that went into the league last year," explained Hayes. "I had a lot of guys at my disposal to ask what their rookie year was like and what to expect. 

"The biggest thing is just being a sponge and absorbing as much knowledge as possible and do your best not to make the same mistakes twice. Learn from your mistakes and get better day by day."

Perhaps the most significant adjustment for Hayes will be his position. The Ravens will play him at SAM backer and defensive end, which is slightly different than how Clark Lea used him at Notre Dame. 

"There's some nuances that are different, but football is football once you get your assignment down and the nuances of a new defense," Hayes said. 

One nuance will be coverage responsibility as the Ravens will expect him to do much more and from all sides of the field. 

"I feel like it's something I'm comfortable in," Hayes stated. "It's just about learning the nuances of the defense and getting familiar with these different sets and drop combinations. 

"At Notre Dame, I was dropping, but we didn't get into the depth. I was always aligned to the boundary, so not a lot of route combinations. There are times where I can be in the field and all types of things I can be adjusting to. It's different, but that's what practice is for and what this time is for, so I'm excited and embracing the challenge." 

Hayes is eager to learn, but he's also excited to do what he does best. 

"I enjoy rushing the passer. I feel there's no quicker way to change the outcome of a game than sacking the quarterback," said Hayes. "Rushing the passer is probably my favorite part." 

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