Overview: Ra’Shede Hageman is still relatively new to the defensive line, having converted from tight end as a freshman in 2009. Since he plays a position that might just be the Bears’ biggest remaining need this offseason, I thought it was high time I wrote up a profile for him. Hageman didn’t exactly set the stat sheet on fire last season with only 2 sacks, but he did have 13 tackles for loss and that was good enough to make him a 3rd team All-American and 1st team All-Big 10 selection. The stats, however, are not the reason Hageman is likely to be a first round draft pick this year. Watch any Golden Gophers’ game from this past season and Hageman is impossible to miss. He is an absolute freak.
- Ideal physical dimensions. Really looks the part at 6-6, 310 lbs., with 34 1/4 inch arms.
- Quick and extremely strong off the snap. Fires off the line and regularly knocks the opposing offensive lineman backwards.
- Elite lateral movement. Changes direction better than some linebackers I’ve watched this offseason.
- Hard hitter. Punishes the ball carrier when he finds him.
- Loaded with upside. The sky is the limit for this kid.
- Plays too high. Let’s blockers get underneath his pads too much and gets taken out of the play.
- Does not read the play well and is slow to react. Moves around really fast, but often doesn’t have a clue where he’s headed.
- Motor is hit or miss. Is a sideline to sideline player when his motor is on, but too often gives up before the whistle.
- Does not shed blocks well. Has no clue what to do with his hands and struggles to get to the ball carrier as a result.
- Incredibly Raw. Much more of an athlete than a football player at this point in his career
NFL Player Comparison: Kendall Langford, St. Louis Rams. This comparison is based mostly on the physical characteristics, but there are other aspects to it. Despite having all the physical traits you look for in a defensive tackle, Langford has never reached his potential. He did have a couple of nice seasons with the Miami Dolphins as a 3-4 defensive end, but has largely been a bust for the Rams as a 4-3 defensive tackle. I think Hageman’s best fit in the NFL might also be 3-4 defensive end, given his excellent build for the position. Like Langford, there is a chance Hageman never quite figures it out.
The Way I See It: I wouldn’t boo if the Bears made this pick at 14, but neither would I cheer. Hageman’s physical ability and upside are undeniable, but the bust factor is just too high to take him at that point. I think I’ll just defer to Phil Emery at this point and trust his ability to evaluate through the interview process. If Hageman is highly motivated to get better at his craft, then the Bears should make this pick. If you think Phil Emery won’t consider reaching for a player with Hageman’s physical characteristics, just look at his first round picks from the last two drafts.