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D.J. Hayden to Oakland Raiders in 2013 NFL Draft

Hours after reports began trickling in that the Oakland Raiders were targeting Houston's D.J. Hayden with their original No. 3 overall pick, general manager Reggie McKenzie traded down to select the cornerback at No. 12.

McKenzie didn't get "trade-chart" value, but he did get his man.


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The best story in the 2013 NFL Draft, Hayden nearly died after a freaky on-field collision on the Cougars' practice field last November. Green Bay Packers executive Alonzo Highsmith has referred to Hayden's torn inferior vena cava as "the most unique injury in the history of the draft."

Although Hayden entered the pre-draft process with serious medical concerns and questions about his speed, his stock soared once teams went back to the game film after he turned in a sub-4.40 40-yard dash at Houston's Pro Day.

Six months ago, there was a concern that Hayden never would play again. A week ago, he bypassed Alabama's Dee Milliner as the top cornerback on NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock's draft board.

Hayden not only fills a major need for the Raiders, he also offers quick feet, make-up speed, aggressiveness, impressive ball skills and college experience as a shutdown shadow corner.

McKenzie is off to a good start in his effort to rebuild a shattered secondary.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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