With all personnel moves pointing to a move to the 3-4 alignment, it became clear that Atlanta needed a future replacement for RE Jonathan Babineaux. The monstrous (6-6, 310) Hageman is that replacement. Yes, edge rushers and linebackers were bigger needs, but there might not have been much more talented a player on the board at #37 than Hageman. Let’s see what he brings to the Falcons.
Production – In 3 years at Minnesota, Ra’Shede had 34 TFL/sacks, 1 INT, and 10 PBU.
Strength – As a potential edge-setting DE, Hageman has the strength split double teams and anchor down, freeing space for linebackers.
Versatility – He can play DT in a 4 man front, NT in a 3, DE in a 3, and has even played OLB before. Good luck preparing for that.
Effort & Ability – He is a gifted athlete who plays hard. Watch him fight through not one but two blocks before eventually shutting down the QB keeper at the LOS:
That combination of athleticism and effort means he has great range for a 310 lb player, as I’ve seen him make a tackle on a WR by the sidelines. As tall as Hageman is, he can get his arms up to bat down passes.
The scary thing is – he’s pretty inexperienced at the position. He doesn’t have a wide variety of pass rush moves, and if linemen stop his initial burst, they typically can contain him for a while. He’ll have to work on that, but those types of things come with experience.
Bottom Line: Players this athletic and gifted just aren’t available late in the draft, and while he doesn’t fit an immediate need, he should be an immediate contributor. His combination of athleticism, strength, and aggressiveness can wreak havoc on the interior of an offensive line, and with some technical refinement, I believe Hageman could develop into an elite 30 end.
Oh, and he can also do this:
Projected 2014 role: Rotational RE
Projected longterm role: Starting RE
What it means for the 2014 Falcons: I suspect Babineaux starts, but he gets some much-needed competition at the position, and Hageman should ultimately overcome him on the depth chart.