Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

April 25, 2013
Raiders trade down, select CB D.J. Hayden in first round

ALAMEDA - After trading down from the third overall selection, the Raiders used the 12th pick in the first round to select Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden.

The Raiders swapped places with Miami in the first round, and also acquired Miami's second-round pick (42nd overall) in the deal. Miami selected Oregon pass rusher Dion Jordan at No. 3.

Hayden was the player the Raiders wanted all along, according to general manager Reggie McKenzie.

McKenzie said the Raiders would have selected Hayden third if no deal was possible.

"Once we declare our draft board, we're gonna follow it," McKenzie said. "We're not gonna try to fill this need and fill that need and go into the offseason saying 'We got players that we needed.' We want to get players that we think make a difference. We want difference-makers, guys that can make plays. And that's where he was on our board."

Hayden doesn't come without concerns. His final season at Houston ended last November after a freak accident in practice.

Hayden was hit in the chest and tore a large vein, the inferior vena cava, which carries blood from the lower half of the body back up to the heart.

Hayden said he feared he might not walk again, much less play football after the accident.

Hayden has been medically cleared and looks forward to getting back on the field.

"I'm definitely looking forward to getting hit because I just want to see how it feels," Hayden said. "But I should be fine. I've been play fighting with all my friends and they've been punching me in my chest and I can take they're punches so I'm pretty sure I'll be all right. I just have to get out there and shake the rust off."

Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Hayden (5-11, 191) has the ability to be a playmaker on a defense that needs help in the secondary.

"He can cover man-to-man, he's got great speed, he's got great quickness," Allen said. "He's got the ability to play both off and press coverage, and really one of the things I really look at is, how does the guy make plays on the ball, specifically the ball down the field, and he does a tremendous job of that."

Hayden was an All-Conference USA selection after his senior season. He had four interceptions, returning two for touchdowns, a school record.

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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