In his most recent edition of "Mock Friday", our own OCC took a look at some of the early projections being made for the Dallas Cowboys first-round pick. This included several draftniks who have Ra'Shede Hageman donning the star in 2014. While mock drafts will come and go over the next 116 days, many of us figure the Minnesota defensive tackle to play a recurring role in the "silly season" that leads up to the NFL Draft. That being the case, let's take a look at young Mr. Hageman. (Ra'Shede also has an interesting backstory that was covered by SB Nation.)
At 6' 6" and 311 pounds, Hageman is an imposing physical specimen. Originally recruited to the University of Minnesota as a tight end, the senior managed to put on over 50 pounds during his redshirt season and by the time he took the field for the Golden Gophers, he had become a defensive tackle. Although he added quite a bit of muscle to his frame, Ra'Shede did not lose his athleticism. He has a 36-inch vertical leap, and reportedly he can still execute 360-degree slam dunks with ease. As his vertical indicates, Hageman is one of the most explosive players in college football. He also runs a 4.82 40 and has a 1.57 10-yard split in the 40-yard dash. Many of his measurables compare favorably with the Houston Texans JJ Watt. ( Watt has a 37" vertical, ran a 4.84 at the combine, and his 10-yard split was 1.64) While there is no guarantee that he is the next JJ, Hageman is certainly a player who has the potential to have an impact on the team that selects him this spring.
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At Minnesota, Hageman proved to be a versatile performer. At various times he lined up in the 0, 1, 3, and 5 techniques. At the next level he is projected to be primarily used in the 3-tech role. With a 465-pound bench press to accompany his quickness, Ra'Shede is strong enough to hold the point of attack against double-team blocks, and he can shed his blockers to make tackles up and down the line of scrimmage. In 2013, Hageman saw his sack totals decline as the Gophers used him in differing roles along the line, but he does have the ability to penetrate the offensive line and create chaos against either the run or pass. He speed also allows him to loop around the defensive end and bring outside pressure on the passer. Although he has demonstrated solid technique that allows him to gain a leverage advantage, as he wears down during the game Hageman has displayed a tendency to start playing with a higher pad level and give up his advantage.
A first team All Big Ten selection for 2013, Ra'Shede Hageman recorded 34 tackles including 11 tackles for a loss during his senior season. He also accounted for two sacks, batted down eight passes with his long arms, and he blocked two kicks. CBSSports Bruce Feldman was so impressed with Hageman that he named him as the #2 player on his 2013 "Freaks List" and he stated that Hageman could become "as good as he wants to be."
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