Raiders Bring Back Former 1st Round Draft Bust for Workout

dj hayden

Getty Former Raiders CB D.J. Hayden.

The Las Vegas Raiders are right in the thick of the AFC playoff race with a 4-2 record. If the season ended today, they’d earn one of the three wild card spots. Though the team’s offense continues to be solid, the defensive improvements are the main reason the Raiders look good this year.

However, the team is struggling in the secondary with recent injuries to Trayvon Mullen and Damon Arnette. Amik Robertson has been picked since getting moved into a starting role and even lost his spot against the Denver Broncos in Week 6. While Mullen and Arnette get healthy, the Raiders would be wise to add some help at cornerback. They know that and that’s why they brought in four defensive backs for workouts in Darqueze Dennard, D.J. Fluker, D.J. Hayden and Chris Slayton, according to Aaron Wilson.

The most notable name on the list is Hayden. He was a first-round pick by the Raiders in 2013 and is considered one of the team’s many draft busts at cornerback. He only lasted four seasons with the team before they let him walk after his 2016 campaign. He spent a year with the Detroit Lions and then the last three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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Hayden Got Revenge on Raiders in 2019

dj hayden

GettyD.J. Hayden tackling Jalen Richard.

While Hayden never found his footing with the Raiders, he put together a respectable run with the Jaguars. He started 15 games over three years with 2019 being his best year. He earned a strong 76.9 grade from Pro Football Focus that year. His highlight of that season was getting revenge on the Raiders. He made it clear back then that he wanted to get back at them for not bringing him back.

“Yeah, they ain’t bring me back so, you know what I’m saying, got to make them pay for it,” Hayden said in 2019, via the Associated Press’ Mark Long.

The Jaguars ended up winning that game 20-16 in the Raiders’ last game in Oakland. There may have been hard feelings back then but Hayden isn’t likely to give up a shot at making another NFL roster.

Should Raiders Sign Hayden?

Arnette and Mullen should both be eligible to return from the Injured Reserve after Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Raiders haven’t shared too much regarding the severity of their injuries so it’s anybody’s guess when exactly either of them is expected to return.

In the meantime, the Raiders appear interested in bringing in some reinforcements. Hayden wouldn’t be the worst addition ever. Fans won’t be overly excited to see him in silver and black again but this could be a chance for redemption. He was the 12th overall pick in 2013 for a reason. There aren’t many Raiders left on the roster that he played with and the coaching staff is completely new so there wouldn’t be a ton of familiarity for him. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has done an excellent job with the team’s secondary so perhaps he can get Hayden to play up to his true potential.

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