How acquired: First-round draft pick (No. 12 overall) out of Houston
2013 season: D.J. Hayden endured an up-and-down rookie season that paled in comparison to the trials and tribulations he faced the year before after a near-death experience during a college practice in which a vein tore away from his heart. On the field, Hayden played catchup the entire way and had his positive moments -- the game-sealing end zone interception of San Diego’s Philip Rivers -- as well as his negative -- Philadelphia’s Riley Cooper and DeSean Jackson having their way with him. Hayden’s season ended after eight games, two starts, when he went on Injured Reserve with a groin injury. Most of his time came in nickel situations (Tracy Porter would slide inside and Hayden would go outside) and he had 29 tackles, 23 solo, two passes defensed, a forced fumble and the pick. He did, however, have a “burn rate” of 60.5.
Looking ahead: As with offensive tackle Menelik Watson, big things are expected out of Hayden in 2014. Especially since Hayden will have the entire offseason to hone his skills and work on his craft and is not coming off life-saving surgery. “When he comes in,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said, “he’ll be 100 percent ready to practice, like the rest of the guys.” It’s easy to see the Raiders penciling him in as a starting cornerback from Day 1 and riding it out with him. In a way, Hayden (and Watson to a degree) would be like an extra draft choice in 2014 … at least, if all goes well.
This concludes our series on Oakland's 2013 rookies. The Raiders’ other 2013 rookies that finished the season on the roster: DE Ryan Robinson, CB Chance Casey, S Shelton Johnson, WR Greg Jenkins, OG Lamar Mady, QB Matt McGloin,WR Brice Butler, DT Stacy McGee, TE Mychal Rivera, RB Latavius Murray, TE Nick Kasa, LB Sio Moore and OT Menelik Watson.