Did the Oakland Raiders Make a Mistake Drafting D.J. Hayden?

The Oakland Raiders, a franchise that has been hampered by losing seasons over the past decade, are trying to find hope for the future. From principal owner Mark Davis and all the way down to general manager Reggie McKenzie, the Raiders continue to find themselves transitioning away from their years of losing with the hope of returning to the "Raider Way."

Yet, the pressure to turn this franchise back into a winner is as high as it's ever been. With a fan base that continues to uphold expectations upon this franchise, the remaining question ultimately is when this franchise will turn it around.

When the 2013 NFL draft was vastly approaching, anyone who had any familiarity with the Raiders knew this could be a critical moment for the franchise. Despite the lack of elite talent in this draft, it is evident that there were many more prospects in the later rounds who showed more potential.

As a result, McKenzie made the decision to trade down nine spots in the draft and select cornerback D.J Hayden of Houston. Hayden was the second cornerback selected in the first round, but the case could be made that his athleticism and skill set makes him the best player to revamp the Raiders' struggling secondary.

Yet, whether we ever see his talents impact the Raiders the way they hope remains to be seen. Despite being undoubtedly worth a first-round selection, his unfortunate, and scary, injury suggests otherwise.

Hayden's collision with a teammate during a Houston practice turned out to be much more than a typical injury that players have while playing this game. Hayden took a brutal hit to the chest, which tore the inferior vena cava of his heart.

The injury was deemed life-threatening, as he lost a large quantity of blood and also the sight in his left eye. Hayden had to spend the end of 2012 not preparing for the draft, but instead fighting for his own life. 

Those obstacles didn't stop him ...

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