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D.J. Hayden, CB

School: Houston  |  Conference: C-USA
College Experience: Senior  |  Hometown: Houston, TX
Height/Weight: 5-11 / 191 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
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Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
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Mock Draft Expert Analysis

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Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: Fluid athlete with the agility and speed to effectively remain in the hip pocket of receivers. He breaks on the ball quickly and has shown natural ball skills, intercepting six passes in just 23 games, returning two of his four interceptions this past season for long touchdowns. Excellent top-end speed (clocked as low as 4.33 in the 40 at Houston's pro day). Combined with good height at 5-11, Hayden has the tools to develop into a true No. 1 corner. Excellent overall athlete who also boasts a 33.5-inch vertical jump and 10-foot broad jump.

WEAKNESSES: Hayden has been fully cleared by doctors, but a life-threating experience will still give some teams caution. Lacks much experience against elite competition and will have a significant learning curve in the NFL.

Player Overview

There was no faster-rising prospect - or more heartwarming story - than Hayden in the weeks leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft.

Hayden was named the Conference USA Defensive Newcomer of the year in 2011, leading Houston with 11 pass break-ups and picking off a pair of passes. He started the first nine games last season and was compiling an excellent senior season when he experienced a life-threatening experience when he tore a major vein in his heart from a collision during a November practice.

Hayden wasn't able to work out at the Scouting Combine, but did go through a battery of medical tests and was able to prove he is fully healthy. He returned to the field for Houston's pro day, and proceeded to rip off a 40-yard dash clocked as low as 4.33 seconds on some watches and was around 4.40 on his second attempt.

Twenty-five NFL teams took in Hayden's pro day workout, and he had at least seven individual meetings with teams before the draft. The medical reports are still concerning to many teams.

"It's the most unique injury in the history of the draft," Packers senior executive Alonzo Highsmith told The Houston Chronicle. "The only people that ever had it aren't alive and doctors have never seen it."

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04/25/2013 - ROB RANG'S FINAL 2013 NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD: 28. D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston: In a year of medical marvels, Hayden's recovery from a freakish injury suffered during practice might be the most dramatic. The first-team all-Conference USA cornerback had a primary vein torn after a routine collision with a teammate in practice. The injury, which reportedly results in fatalities 95 percent of the time and is normally associated with auto accidents, required emergency surgery. With team doctors clearing Hayden (6-0, 191), scouts are left to focus on ability in coverage and creating turnovers (12 in less than two seasons at Houston). - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

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