If the Oakland Raiders hold onto the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, they could make a surprise pick. Several executives throughout the NFL believe that the Raiders will select former Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden with the third pick in the draft, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora.
Oakland has been consistently linked to former Florida Gators defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd leading up to the draft, but the Raiders' interest in Floyd could simply be a smokescreen. In SB Nation's latest mock draft, the Raiders are projected to take Floyd, while Hayden is projected to be selected by the New England Patriots with the No. 29 pick.
Dee Milliner is regarded as the top cornerback available in the 2013 draft class, but concerns over recent surgeries slightly dampened Milliner's draft stock in the last week. Milliner insists he'll be ready for training camp and pledges to aggressively rehab his shoulder as soon as he's drafted.
While Milliner's stock was dampened, Hayden's stock appeared to be on the rise. Sports Illustrated's Peter King noted that Hayden could be the consensus top cornerback in the entire draft.
Hayden would still be viewed as a reach at No. 3 overall. SB Nation's Dan Kadar ranked the top 200 prospects in this year's draft class, and he ranked Hayden as the No. 76 player available -- and ranked him as the 10th-best cornerback available.
If the Raiders truly believe he's the best cornerback in the draft -- as King suggests -- then it seems like it's a legitimate possibility that they'll select him with the No. 3 overall pick. Oakland would be well served to trade down in the first round, however, and gain extra picks in the process, since Hayden will likely be available in the back half of the top 10 -- if not in the top 15 or 20.
The Raiders have been linked in trade talks recently with the Detroit Lions. The Lions hold the No. 5 pick in the draft, and Hayden would certainly be available at No. 5 -- if the Raiders choose to trade down.
Oakland does not have a second- or fifth-round pick headed into the draft and would certainly look to add mid-round picks in any type of trade regarding the No. 3 pick.