Found June 28, 2013 on Football and Futbol:
PLAYERS: D.J. Hayden
TEAMS: Oakland Raiders
Every year the NFL holds a college draft, and every season we try to assume how the rookies for our respective teams will perform, especially the first round picks. In this year’s draft the Raiders selected cornerback, DJ Hayden, out of the University of Houston. Some analysts felt that he was a risky choice considering the very unique injury he suffered last season. He collided with a teammate during practice and tore his inferior vena cava (the major vein that connects to the heart). Even though he had been cleared by every team’s physician, the risk was still high due to the severity of the injury. However, that did not stop GM Reggie McKenzie from selecting him with the 12th overall selection. Mckenzie was ready to take him with the Raiders original spot at 3. Instead, he was able to trade down and grab a second round pick, which the Raiders did not have before the trade. There is much speculation that McKenzie sold the draft pick for far less than what he could have gotten. They were only able to get an additional second round pick, even for such a high draft selection. Usually when trading down, a team can collect at least an additional 3rd round pick or even a selection from next year’s draft. But that is a discussion for another topic. DJ Hayden Facebook Page After taking in many different view points on this talented athlete, I have come to my own conclusions based on statistical and visual reporting. I have to be honest, my initial reaction when Roger Goodell announced that the Raiders selected DJ Hayden was, “Oh great, here comes another Phillip Buchanan or Stanford Routte.” In actuality, DJ Hayden couldn’t be more different from those two players. His style of play has been compared by many to that of Tampa Bay’s Darrell Revis. Obviously, it is too early to assume that Hayden will perform at the level that the best corner in the league does, but Raider fans can definitely hope. It doesn’t all come down to wishful thinking; we can review the style of play he showed while in college and understand why McKenzie had to have him. Hayden is a physical corner, who does not shy away from the tackle when called upon to perform. He thrives in both man and zone coverage, making him a dual threat and a rarity among corners in the NFL today. His recovery speed allows him to keep up with the majority of receivers. He has fluid transitions, shifting his hips smoothly, and knows how to use his hands for leverage. I believe he will take some time to adapt to the speed of the NFL. Although, with the right coaching from the staff and veterans like Charles Woodson, and staying on the field, I can see Hayden becoming a great corner. As NFL analyst Mike Mayock has suggested, he may be the best corner out of this draft class. The only thing us Raider fans can do is sit back and hope that the McKenzie era is a successful one that will bring us back to greatness. Just Win Baby!
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