The Raiders get their guy after a trade down to pick 12. They bulk up the defensive backfield with the selection of 5-11, 191 pound cornerback DJ Hayden. The senior corner ran a 4.3 at his Pro Day last month.
Hayden was a winner from the beginning helping lead Navarro College to the NJCAA National Championship. He then chose Houston over Arkansas, TCU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and Mississippi among others.
Following the 2011 season, Hayden had the NFL and college football's attention as one of the best corners prospects out there. He was seen as the perfect balance of speed, instincts, and physicality.
Nine games into his senior season, he was proving the scouts correct with 8 passes defended and 4 interceptions returned for 171 yards. That all came crashing down when he suffered a torn blood vessel in his heart. It is a condition that almost always a killer. He survived the ordeal and doctors say it was a freak occurrence that has no risk of happening again.
Now that he is healed, the injury is being looked at as a positive ie "If he can survive THAT, he can survive anything." Reggie McKenzie likes tough SOB's and surviving a torn blood vessel in your heart makes you a tough SOB from where I'm sitting.
The Raiders had Hayden in for a visit to get a closer look at him. They liked what they saw and chose him with their pick at 12th overall.