Rex Ryan came away "impressed" after watching cornerback D.J. Hayden’s workout in Houston Monday, according to Houston’s KPRC-TV.
While Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner garnered much of the attention during the NFL Scouting Combine, Hayden has caught the eye of even more draft pundits and NFL fans. According to KPRC-TV, the Jets were one of 10 teams that watched Hayden for “about 40 minutes” Monday. And Ryan was the only NFL head coach in attendance, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Ryan's interest in the University of Houston product shouldn't be surprising. Hayden recently leapfrogged over Milliner for the top spot on Mike Mayock’s list of eligible cornerbacks in this year's draft class.
“Most people think Dee Milliner is the No. 1 corner in the country,” Mayock said on an April 18 conference call. “I happen to like D.J. Hayden and I have a new list coming out today. And Hayden is going to be my No. 1 corner.”
The Jets (as you may have heard) dealt their best player, and top cornerback -- Darrelle Revis – to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Hayden could, of course, be an option for the Jets. Ryan has made his affinity for cornerbacks well-known during his tenure in New York.
But the Jets, who now own the ninth and 13th overall picks in Thursday’s first round, have a lot of needs to address: pass rusher, safety, wide receiver, guard, quarterback, tight end and running back. (Note: It’s widely assumed they'll try to acquire Saints RB Chris Ivory in exchange for a fifth-round pick this week.)
Hayden, who suffered a torn inferior vena cava (aka, the main vein to your heart), has been medically cleared. And based on the interest he’s getting, it doesn’t seem as if teams are worried about his health.
“I've got him No. 14 on my board, which tells you how good I think he is,” Mayock said on the call. “And I think there are two things that have happened here. The most important is that from a medical perspective, I think as horrific as that whole thing was, I think most of the teams have come to the conclusion that it was a once-in-a-gazillion situation that has no more chance of being replicated than it did in the first place.
“…Then the next question was, well what did he run, because the tape is great. And he went out in his pro day before he pulled his hammy and ran in the 4.48 and the 4.42 range depending who you talk to.
“The two big issues I think were speed and medical and I think they have both been erased.”