CSN Mock Draft, Pick 28: Broncos select ...

CSN Mock Draft, Pick 28: Broncos select ...

April 20, 2013, 11:00 am
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D.J. Hayden had four interceptions in nine games before a life-threatening injury cut his season short. (USA Today Images)

No. 28: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston (5-11, 191)

The Broncos were seconds away from the AFC Championship game until a blow-up in the secondary opened the door for the Ravens to come back and win.

D.J. Hayden came moments away from losing his life last November after a collision with his teammate left him with a blood vessel that tore off his heart, one of the most rare injuries ever in big-time athletics.

The Broncos, who have few chances left to win it all with Peyton Manning, need a corner that can rescue their Super Bowl hopes. Hayden, who has boundless talent, needs a team that’s willing to believe that his traumatic incident is ancient history and gamble that his health won’t be an obstacle en route to stardom.

It’s a no-brainer.

If the former Houston cornerback is there at No. 28, the Broncos shouldn’t think twice about drafting the prospect that recently vaulted over Alabama’s Dee Milliner into the No. 1 spot on Mike Mayock’s position rankings.

Hayden isn’t just Mayock’s top corner. He also ranks as Mayock’s 14th overall prospect, which means Hayden could possibly go top-10 given the annual demands for top defensive backs and the number of teams choosing in the first 10 that have holes in the secondary.

Along with the devastating injury that he sustained in practice on Nov. 6, when his vena cava, the main vessel that circulates blood from the lower extremities to the heart, tore, Hayden also had to answer questions about his speed going into February’s NFL Scouting Combine. He clocked a sub-4.4 40-yard-dash, so consider that question answered as well.

Hayden needs to develop his body for the NFL level and get stronger, but he’d be the perfect complement to future Hall of Fame corner Champ Bailey, who made his fourth straight Pro Bowl last season and 12th overall, and eventual heir to the throne.

Put it this way: there wouldn’t be very many blown leads in the fourth quarter with those two manning the secondary.

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