The Las Vegas Raiders and the football world will mourn the loss of former first-round pick D.J. Hayden on Saturday morning. Per Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle, Hayden was killed in a collision near downtown Houston early Saturday morning.
Updated story with confirmation of third UH football player killed in this morning's collision
— Joseph Duarte (@Joseph_Duarte) November 11, 2023
A car sped through a red light, killing Hayden and five others. The incident happened around 2 a.m., per a Houston Police Department report.
D.J. Hayden: Standout CB at the University of Houston
D.J. Hayden, a Texas native, played his final two college seasons with the Houston Cougars. The cornerback became an instant difference maker, recording five forced fumbles, two interceptions, a touchdown, and a sack as a junior. Hayden continued to shine as a senior, recording 61 tackles and returning two of four interceptions for touchdowns. He led the C-USA in interception return yards and interception return touchdowns.
Hayden survived a medical scare during his senior season, getting hospitalized with a torn inferior vena cave after taking a knee to his chest during practice.
Las Vegas Raiders Select Hayden in the First Round of the 2013 NFL Draft
The Las Vegas Raiders selected Hayden with the 12th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, making him the highest-selected defensive player from UH since Wilson Whitley in 1977. Hayden played just 18 games through his first two seasons while dealing with injuries. He recorded two interceptions and a forced fumble during that span. After back-to-back subpar seasons, the Raiders declined his fifth-year option, and Hayden signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He played three seasons with Jacksonville, tallying 86 solo tackles, three sacks, and an interception. He played his ninth and final season with the Washington Commanders in 2021.