As a sophomore in 2008, Haden started all 14 games, recording 87 tackles, and three interceptions—including an 88-yard interception return for a touchdown (the fourth longest in Gators history). In the Gators' 24–14 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in the BCS Championship Game, he had 10 tackles and three pass break-ups.
During his junior year in 2009, he had 68 tackles, four interceptions and three quarterback sacks. After the season, he was a first-team All-SEC selection, and was recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American. He also shared the Gators' most valuable player award with quarterbackTim Tebow, and was named the National Defensive Player of the Year by the Sporting News.
Haden decided to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.
Haden was considered one of the best prospects available for the 2010 NFL Draft. At the NFL Combine, Haden disappointed scouts with a 4.52 sec time in the 40-yard dash, which is average for an NFL cornerback, but it was later revealed he had a sore back at that time. He ran a 4.43 in Florida's Pro Day
Haden was drafted seventh overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2010 NFL Draft. He and the Browns agreed to a five-year, $50 million contract on July 31, 2010. Haden started his rookie season as the Browns nickelback, but took the starting spot from a struggling, and injured Eric Wright in Week 11. Haden became the first Browns player since 1968 to intercept a pass in four consecutive games. He finished his rookie season with 64 combined tackles, 6 interceptions and one forced fumble.
In 2012, Haden faced a potential four-game suspension after testing positive for Adderall. If he got suspended, Haden had the option to appeal the suspension, which would have resulted in the loss of four game checks ($1.356 million). The league announced on September 10 that Haden will be suspended for four games.
Haden went to the Pro Bowl his rookie season. On December 27, 2013, Haden was selected for his second Pro Bowl. On January 3, 2014, Haden received his first All-Pro selection, making the second team.