In order to familiarize fans with some of the top names in the 2013 NFL Draft, Chargers.com will be highlighting a different prospect each weekday leading up to the first day of the draft on April 25th.
We continue the series with a scouting report of Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden.
Name: D.J. Hayden
Weight: 191 LBS
D.J. Hayden nearly lost his life during a routine practice in November when a collision severed his inferior vena cava. The serious injury has a 95-percent fatality rate, but Hayden overcame the odds not only to survive it, but to find himself as a top tier cornerback prospect in April’s draft.
Prior to the injury, Hayden had played in nine games during his senior campaign, earning first team All-Conference USA honors in the process. The Houston defensive back recorded 61 tackles as well as eight passes defensed, four interceptions (returning two for touchdowns), one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Hayden is a cerebral player who has great instincts and awareness as a cornerback. Equally adept at man coverage as he is playing zone, he’s a very tough player with natural speed and quickness. He does a good job maintaining proper position in the passing game and fights hard for 50/50 balls. Hayden also enjoys mixing it up in the run game with quick diagnostic skills to determine when the running back has the ball.
Hayden has been hard at work in recent months to rehab from his injury. Although he wasn’t able to participate at the Scouting Combine, he did hold a pro day where he proved he maintained his elite speed, running a 4.38 40-yard dash. Based on his play prior to the freak accident, Hayden positioned himself to be a late first round pick. Because of pure talent, he may still go that high. At the very least, Hayden should be a second day selection as he continues to fight his way back to 100-percent full strength.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed above do not represent the opinions or policies of the San Diego Chargers’ front office staff, coaches or executives.