Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Per Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com:
Finally got tape of D.J. Hayden…I'm a big fan. Smooth, explosive & tough... he can play the ball in the air. Hopefully medical checks out
Per Kevin Weidl of ESPN.com (subscription required):
Hayden (5-foot-11⅛, 191 pounds) is an easy mover in coverage, with quick feet and a rare burst to close on the ball, but his playmaking instincts are what set him apart. Hayden (61 tackles, 8 pass breakups, 4 INT in 2012) has great eyes in coverage and knows how to manufacture turnovers, which is something that holds a lot of value at the next level.
Avoids receiver blocks in run support and breaks down to wrap up a leg before the ballcarrier can head upfield. Used on blind side blitzes because of his speed, and shows the aptitude to create turnovers by unsuspecting quarterbacks. Tackling is stronger than his wiry frame would predict, allowing him to separate the ball from its carrier in addition to dragging down opponents.
Average size and strength won’t make him an elite prospect in the minds of scouts, because he will be at a disadvantage against better pro receivers both at the line of scrimmage and downfield.
Per CBS Sports:
Hayden has been fully cleared by doctors, but a life-threating experience will still give some teams caution. Lacks much experience against elite competition and will have a significant learning curve in the NFL.
Per ESPN.com (subscription required)
Will occasionally wrap up too high and doesn't have elite strength to hold on which can result in a missed tackle.
While it’s hard to find weaknesses in Hayden’s tape, he’s still a very risky prospect—especially if he’s taken in the first round. He has all the necessary instincts and cover skills necessary, and if his sub-4.40 40 shows up on the field, he’ll have the physical skills necessary to hold up to NFL-level competition.
However, there are still questions as to whether Hayden will ever be the same player again and how much of a learning curve he’s going to have during his rookie year.
No matter the case, it’s hard not to root for him.