Actual Pick: CB D.J. Hayden, Houston
Leading up to the 2013 draft, there was a buzz in the air that the Raiders were going to draft University of Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden.
If you're a Raiders fan, by now you know Hayden's incredible story.
Bleacher Report's Dr. Dave Siebert wrote about the freak accident Hayden encountered on the football field that nearly cost him his life:
Hayden probably never thought a football tackle—during practice, no less—would almost cost him his life, yet that is what nearly occurred last November. The fact that he survived to tell Schudel the tale is nothing short of a miracle.
Siebert would continue to say:
Caregivers recognized the severity of the situation and wasted no time in rushing Hayden to the hospital. There, 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.
Hayden's journey from nearly losing his life to becoming a top 15 pick in the 2013 draft was astonishing and compelling at the same juncture.
Despite all of the medical red flags, McKenzie drafted the young cornerback in the first round with a hope that he would step in and help fortify the Raiders' secondary.
Instead, Hayden's rookie season wasn't what fans of the Silver and Black had hoped for.
The defensive back appeared in just eight games before being put on Injured Reserve in November.
Of course, there's plenty of time left for Hayden to transition into an elite cornerback.
But if the Raiders had to do it all over again, you could make a strong case for them drafting defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson with the 12th overall pick.
Coming out of Missouri, Richardson was ranked by NFL Media draft expert Mike Mayock as the second-best defensive tackle in the 2013 class.
Though he ended up playing defensive end for the New York Jets in their 3-4 scheme, Richardson told NFL Network's Matt Smith and Bucky Brooks at the 2013 combine that other teams asked him to play the 3-technique during interviews.
Richardson was a revelation for the Jets last season.
Finishing as Pro Football Focus' (subscription required) fifth-best 3-4 defensive end in the NFL, the big man out of Mizzou wound up being named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year for his efforts.
It's obvious that the Raiders could have used a young, dominate force on the interior of their defensive line to buckle the pocket, stop the run and make things difficult for the trio of dynamic quarterbacks who take snaps in the AFC West.
Looking back at all of the players selected in the first round, picking Richardson would have been a fantastic way for McKenzie to kick off the 2013 draft.