After already hosting Brian Poole and De’Vante Bausby earlier this week, the New England Patriots took a look at another free agent cornerback on Friday: according to the NFL transactions wire, the team worked out former first-round draft pick D.J. Hayden.
Hayden, 31, originally joined the NFL as the 15th overall selection in the 2013 draft. Spending his first four seasons with the then-Oakland Raiders, the Houston product appeared in 45 games but did not see his fifth-year contract option get picked up. Instead, he left the team in 2017 to join the Detroit Lions on a one-year pact.
After playing 16 games with the Lions as a rotational depth option, Hayden signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars the following offseason. While he did play 30 games over the next three seasons — registering one interception to bring his career total to four — he also struggled with injuries and was not brought back earlier this year.
Hayden has remained unsigned ever since. He did work out with multiple teams over the last few weeks, though, drawing interest from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, and the Raiders. Now the Patriots can be added to the list as well.
A versatile cornerback who has experience both on the outside and in the slot, Hayden would help bolster a cornerback group that is dealing with some depth issues.
The Patriots will be down two cornerbacks against the New York Jets on Sunday, ruling out Jonathan Jones and Shaun Wade on their Friday injury report. Furthermore, they have no established options in the fold behind starting perimeter corners J.C. Jackson and Jalen Mills.
Joejuan Williams and recent practice squad call-up Myles Bryant have yet to prove themselves as consistent rotational options, while Justin Bethel is primarily a special teamer. New England also has the option of promoting D’Angelo Ross from its developmental roster, but adding an experienced player such as Hayden would also make sense.