The Atlanta Falcons could always add another playmaker to their defensive front seven. Ra’Shede Hageman isn’t the kind of playmaker most would expect, as he’s more of an interior defensive lineman than an edge player like what the Falcons seem to have a real need for.
However, Atlanta has shown interest in the Golden Gopher. ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure noted that the Falcons have brought Hageman in for a visit. This could just be a move for more depth, or they could be looking at him for a starting role somewhere in the crowded group of interior defensive line talent.”
University of Minnesota
Combine/Pro Day Measurements
Height: 6’5.875” Weight: 310 lbs
Arm Length: 34.25” Hand Measurement: 10.25”
40-Yard Dash: 5.02 secs 10-Yard Split: 1.75 secs
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.50 secs 3-Cone Drill: 7.87 secs Bench Reps: 32 reps
Vertical Jump: 35.5” Broad Jump: 9’6”
2013: 13 games played, 38 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, 1 interception, 1 QB hurry, 8 pass deflections, 2 blocked kicks
2012: 13 games played, 35 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 1 fumble forced, 2 pass deflections
2011: 12 games played, 13 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, 1 fumble
2010: 7 games played, 5 tackles
Courtesy of CFBStats.com.
Hageman’s biggest strength is his raw power off the line. He’s able to drive back offensive linemen in the passing game with his bull rush. He collapses the pocket and pushes guards into the quarterback’s face so that he has trouble getting the ball off.
Hageman also has long arms that he can get up to deflect passes effectively. He penetrates well against the run and understands how to tackle. He also takes on double-teams well, and he can use that to his advantage with more talent around him in Atlanta than he had in Minnesota.
As a former tight end, Hageman shows more of an offensive temperament to his game than defensive. He needs to display more aggression early in games before the offensive linemen start to anger him. He will take poor angles to the ball in run defense a lot and needs to refine this.
He also has to dramatically improve his hand usage. He understands how to engage, but after that, he has trouble shedding blocks. He needs to develop some pass-rush moves. Otherwise, he’s going to have a ton of trouble creating pressure in the pros.
How does he fit the Comrade Filter?
Hageman was arrested in May 2012 for misdemeanor disorderly conduct after a bar fight on campus. He was also suspended during the final three games of the 2010 season. However, he seems to have matured and improved his life since the arrest and suspension.
He was a team leader for the Gophers and is definitely someone who works hard. The Falcons could just be doing their due diligence by bringing him in because of his past. That, or they think it’s no big deal, and he’ll be just fine in the NFL.
Hageman is a late first-round talent at defensive tackle. He’s versatile enough to play any technique 0 through 5. His best fit is as a 1-technique nose tackle in the 4-3, where he is just focused on penetrating the A-gap every single play.
However, he could develop into a monstrous talent as a 3-technique defensive tackle in the 4-3 or even a 5-technique defensive end in the 3-4. His versatility even allows him to slide all the way out to 6-technique at times, but he’s a poor fit there in the pros.
How he would fit into the Falcons’ plans
If Hageman winds up on the Falcons, it’s because he fell to their pick in the second round, and Atlanta decided that he’s the ideal fit for Mike Nolan’s defense in either a defensive end or a defensive tackle role. Atlanta could also play him at nose tackle for some plays to get someone quicker than Paul Soliai there.
Hageman plays surprisingly fast and, used as a 5-technique defensive end in 3-4 base packages or as a 3-technique under tackle in 4-3 base packages, would give Atlanta a good run defender. Ideally, though, he gets taken before the Falcons come up in the second round. He wouldn’t see much time early.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, college football, the NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.