Buccaneers Linked to Former Top-15 Pick

DJ Hayden Buccaneers

Getty The Buccaneers are searching for depth at cornerback.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are continuing their search for depth at cornerback with Sean Murphy-Bunting sidelined with a dislocated elbow. The NFL transaction wire revealed the Buccaneers worked out corner D.J. Hayden, who was selected by the Raiders with the No. 12 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Tampa Bay also worked out former Florida cornerback Shawn Davis, ex-Vikings corner Tre Roberson and former Cowboys cornerback Rashard Robinson, per NFL insider Aaron Wilson.

Hayden spent the last three seasons with the Jaguars playing in five games in 2020 notching 18 tackles. Prior to playing in Jacksonville, the veteran corner spent his first four seasons with the Raiders and had a one-year stint with the Lions.

“[Hayden] can make a play to swat the ball away or make an interception and he does not let wide receivers break free and go for touchdowns,” NFL draft analyst Matt Miller detailed prior to the 2013 draft. “While man coverage is Hayden’s specialty, he is enough of a ball hawk to be effective in zone coverage. He is able to anticipate where the ball will go and be able to make a pick, or at least deflect the pass, allowing him more freedom to make a big tackle.”

Hayden Nearly Died After an Injury Sustained During a College Practice

Hayden overcame a lot just to make it to the NFL as the corner sustained a serious injury as the result of a collision during a November 6, 2012 practice at the University of Houston. The corner’s inferior vena cava had torn causing a loss of blood which resulted in immediate surgery. The injury has a 95% fatality rate, per NFL.com.

“He is a walking medical miracle, I think,” Houston team doctor Walter Lowe told NFL.com in a 2013 interview. “It is one of those things that you take a step back and look at the whole process, and it makes you so proud that the trainers you trust do what they’re supposed to do. The fellows you trust do what they’re supposed to do. Paramedics you trust do what they’re supposed to do. This was a day where everybody did the right thing. Every single person did the right thing. And with that, it’s a feel-good story. It has a fairy tale ending.”

The Bucs Have Been in Talks With 5-Time Pro Bowl Corner Richard Sherman

The Buccaneers continue to be linked to free-agent corner Richard Sherman. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians admitted the team has been in contact with Sherman, but the front office has yet to make a decision on whether to sign the five-time Pro Bowl corner.

“I think Jason’s [Licht] reached out, we’ve gotta see, he’s [Sherman] got other things going on, too,” Arians told reporters. “It’s just a matter of, I coach the ones that we got, and let him [Licht] handle the rest of that. We’ll kick the tires on some other guys, too. It’s just a matter of, we’ll talk and see and if it’s the right fit, it’s the right fit and we’ll move on it.”

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