Fantasy Impact: Oakland Raiders Selects D.J. Hayden
During last night’s 2013 NFL Draft the Oakland Raiders executed a trade with the Miami Dolphins, a continued ploy that began back in late March. The long and tedious ploy of rebuilding is never easy for fans but the painstaking task likely eased when, after swapping the 3rd overall pick with Miami in exchange for both the 12th and 42nd overall selections, the Oakland Raiders drafted University of Houston defensive back D.J. Hayden.
During November of 2012 the Raiders cornerback was facing a 95% mortality rate after the inferior vena cava was ripped from his heart, during a routine practice play causing D.J. Hayden to miss the remaining three games of the season. Hayden recovered at a miraculous rate eventually bypassing the NFL combine but eventually participating in the Houston Cougars pro day. The 2013 NFL draftee ran a 4.33 forty, had a 10.00′ broad jump, and a 33.5″ vertical in front of representatives from 23 NFL teams. Many draft pundits feel that Alabama defensive back Dee Millner is more pro ready due to his time in Tuscaloosa yet had Hayden not have suffered such a serious injury the possibility of the University of Houston star being the top overall selected defensive back is far from preposterous.
Last season in 2012 the Oakland Raiders were tied for 8th worst in the NFL in passing TD’s allowed, 7th worst with interceptions, and sported the 3rd highest NFL passer rating against. The newest member of Raider Nation submits a 2012 football resume of 12 pass break-ups, 4 interceptions – 2 of which were returned for touchdowns – in only 9 games. Over Hayden’s two seasons in Houston he managed to force a total of 6 fumbles while averaging 63 tackles per season. Prorate those numbers to a 16 game NFL season and the IDP implications indicate potential 2nd tier player quality.
During the 2012 season D.J. Hayden ranked number one in Conference USA with interceptions return for touchdowns. It’s plausible that Hayden’s numbers could increase through his rookie season as offenses will look to take pot shots at the newcomer. Thrown at attempts will increase based on unfamiliarity and therefore production numbers from a defensive standpoint could be proportional. The kid obviously brings swagger to the table as his twitter account location simply reads, “Hayden’s Island, TX”.
College statistics courtesy of Sports Reference
Hayden will have the opportunity to start immediately in Oakland and the ‘rookie corner’ rule will be in effect, giving him some instant fantasy value. Six interceptions (three returned for touchdown) over the past two years and double-digit passes defensed in both of the last two seasons shows that Hayden can make plays on the ball which is a positive trait for his fantasy stock. His round one selection status will potentially boost his fantasy draft stock from a name recognition perspective which might make him over-drafted, but for owners looking for high upside picks Hayden will be in play in the last few rounds of their IDP drafts.