D.J. Hayden's rookie season is over. The Oakland Raiders placed their first-round cornerback on injured reserve Wednesday due to a groin injury he suffered last Sunday against the Houston Texans. Hayden appeared in eight games for the Raiders, and recorded 29 tackles, two passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble.
It's another setback for the Raiders' top pick who hadn't played a snap of football following a life-threatening heart injury midway through his senior season at Houston that required emergency surgery. After he showed he was healthy in front of scouts at the Houston Pro Day prior to the draft, his stock shot up and the Raiders had their sights set on drafting him.
Hayden practiced with the team a couple of days into OTAs before feeling ill and being taken to the hospital where it was deemed he would need surgery to remove scar tissue that had built up from the previous surgery. The recovery time would be long and it had him out the remainder off the offseason program.
Hayden was selected No. 12 overall during the NFL Draft in April, and was the second cornerback taken behind Alabama's Dee Milliner. Perhaps due to his lack of practice time, Hayden didn't make the immediate impact many Raiders fans had hoped. He started just two games for Oakland this season. Hayden graded out as the 93rd best corner in the league out of 107 qualifying players, according to Pro Football Focus.
Fortunately for Hayden, he'll have a long time to rest and get healthy for the 2014 season, at which point he may be able to take full advantage of the athleticism that made him one of the top picks in his class.