Oakland Raiders rookie cornerback DJ Hayden's 2013 season is officially over. The team has placed him on injured reserve as the result of a nagging groin injury that has plagued him since early November, according to Contra Costa Times Raiders blogger Steve Corkran via Twitter:
#Raiders place rookie CB D.J. Hayden on season-ending injured reserve list. He has been bothered by a groin injury.— Steve Corkran (@CorkOnTheNFL) November 20, 2013
Hayden initially injured in his groin during practice prior to Week 10's loss to the New York Giants. It remains to be seen when he can be expected back at full strength.
Although losing Hayden for the year is another step in the wrong direction for the league's 25th-ranked pass defense in terms of yards allowed, the first-rounder's impact to this point had been minimal at best. Hayden only started two games in 2013 and defended two passes and recorded just one interception and one forced fumble in eight regular-season appearances.
The 23-year-old tallied 26 combined tackles over that time as well, but ranks ninth among all Oakland defenders in that department.
Despite his lack of production through the first 11 weeks of the season, Hayden's injury epitomizes the type of season it's been for Oakland's reeling secondary. It struck a low point in Week 9 when it gave up seven touchdown passes to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.
A native of Houston, Hayden began his college football career in the junior college ranks before enrolling at Houston in 2011. In his two seasons with the Cougars, Hayden raised eyebrows and caught the attention of NFL scouts.
His health was a major red flag entering the draft, though, as Hayden nearly died after suffering a scary injury where he tore a vein near his heart in 2012. Hayden miraculously recovered, and the Raiders took a chance on him.
After earning First-Team All Conference USA honors in 2012, Hayden was selected 12th overall by the Raiders in the 2013 NFL draft. There's no doubting his natural talent when healthy, but he'll need to get back on the field for Oakland so see him rise to his potential.
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