NFL Draft: Bengals Showing Significant Interest in Houston’s D.J. Hayden


Sep 17, 2011; Ruston, LA, USA; Houston Cougars defensive back D.J. Hayden (2) during the second half in the game against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Joe Aillet Stadium. Houston won 35-34. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Cornerback won’t be high on the list of needs for the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2013 NFL Draft, but that doesn’t mean they’ll try to find good value in the later rounds, and they may already have someone in mind.

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King wrote in his Monday Morning QB Column , while also conducting a mock draft, that the Bengals have been showing significant interest in Houston Cougars cornerback D.J. Hayden:

"Cincinnati (21) likes Alec Ogletree and Eddie Lacy — and a strange one for this high: Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden, who had a risky heart-valve problem in 2011 but now checks out OK. Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has spent loads of time investigating Hayden"

Hayden missed the last month of the 2012 season after doctors diagnosed a tear of the inferior vena cava (IVC), or the largest vein in the body that is responsible for bringing blood from the lower half of the body back to the heart.

In the nine games he did start in 2012, he had four interceptions and eight pass breakups. Hayden was considered a top 100 player prior to the injury, but the heart condition will likely to move him down to the fifth or sixth round. If his heart condition checks out though and he’s given a clean bill of health, there’s buzz going around Hayden could go as early as the mid-late third round. 

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