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Bucs Taking a Serious Look at DJ Hayden

The Bucs may have traded for Darrelle Revis on Sunday, but that doesnt mean the organization isnt seriously considering taking a cornerback high in this years NFL draft, which kicks off tomorrow night.

A source tells me the Bucs are not only interested in drafting Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden, but like Tyler Eifert, who I wrote about earlier, the team will consider trading into the bottom of the first round to get him, depending on whos available and if theres a willing trade partner.

Just two days ago, Hayden worked out for the Bucs, Jets, Saints, and 49ers. The 5-foot-11, 190-poundcorner, who clocked a blazing 4.33 and registered a 33.5-inch vertical at his pro day last month, looked impressive.

Not bad for a guy who, just last November, underwent emergency heart surgery after rupturing the inferior vena cava near his heart.

It was a freak accident during practice. Doctors say his odds to live werent very good. Now hes on the brink of having his name called in the first round of the NFL draft nothing shy of a miracle, especially considering the number of teams willing to assume such a risk.

In his nine games last season, Hayden had four interceptions, returning two of them for touchdowns, including returns of 75 and 95 yards. In his two years at Houston, he tallied 90 solo tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, 19 pass breakups, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, six interceptions, and a sack.

But those stats dont show how cleanly hes able to wrap up and finish every tackle with no assistance, or fly from the opposite sideline to strip the ball loose from an unsuspecting receiver.

Nor do the stats dont show how well hes able to immediately diagnose what he sees on the field and make split-second reactions, flipping his hips and turning his body with ease.

Those are natural skills and not every cornerback possesses them, although this draft class has its share of talent. Some havepredicted as many as ten corners could come off the board in the first two rounds alone.


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