49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

April 23, 2013
49ers send Donatell to check out Houston CB D.J. Hayden

Not only did the 49ers attend the Monday workout of Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden, they sent one of their top assistant coaches, Ed Donatell. This according to NFL.com's Gil Brandt, who wrote that 15 teams were on hand to watch Hayden (5-11 ½, 192 pounds).

Hayden is considered one of the top two or three cornerbacks in the draft. Indeed, NFL.com's Mike Mayock recently moved him ahead of Alabama's Dee Milliner as his No. 1-rated cornerback. The reason Hayden could drop as far as No. 31 and the 49ers is because some teams might be concerned about his medical background.

Hayden was rushed to the hospital in November after suffering a hit in practice that tore a major vein - the inferior vena cava - that feeds his heart. The injury normally is associated with car crashes, and Hayden spent six days in the hospital, initially in critical condition, before he was released.

Most teams have cleared Hayden medically during the pre-draft process. He was unable to finish his workout at Houston's pro day last month not because of his heart, but because of a pulled hamstring. Hayden broke up 11 passes and made two interceptions in 2011. He had eight pass break ups and four interceptions in nine games a year ago.

The 49ers, meanwhile, have a full house at cornerback after adding Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency. However, three of the cornerbacks on the roster -- Asomugha, Tarell Brown and Tramaine Brock -- are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in March while another, Carlos Rogers, has a base salary of $6.25 million in 2014.

General manager Trent Baalke last week spoke about trying to draft "prior to need." Cornerback, it would seem, is one of the positions that has depth now but may not in coming seasons. The 49ers also have shown a lot of interest in former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu.

Merry Draftmas, one and all! The big day is nearly upon us, and there's so much to talk about. Please grab a cup of hot eggnog and join me for a fireside chat at 11 a.m. today. We'll talk about life, love (draft crushes) and everything in between. Www.sacbee.com/live.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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