The Case For the Dallas Cowboys drafting Ra’Shede Hageman
By Matthew Postins
Every few days leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft RattleandHumSports.com will profile a player that the Dallas Cowboys could select in the draft.
Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Measurables: 6-foot-6, 318 pounds
Rankings: CBSSports.com ranked Hageman as the No. 26 overall prospect and the No. 5 draft prospect at defensive tackle.
Draft grade: CBSSports.com gives Hageman a first- or second-round grade.
In College: As a senior Hageman was named first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and the media, third-team All-American by Athlon Sports and received the Bronko Nagurski Award, which is given annually to the team’s most valuable player, becoming the first defensive player to win the award since Willie VanDeSteeg in 2008. Hageman also received the team’s Carl Eller Award as the team’s outstanding defensive player and was named the Defensive Lineman of the Year. He left Minnesota as a two-year starter and a three-year contributor for the Golden Gophers. He had 24 tackles for loss in his career.
So far in the scouting process: By all accounts, Hageman had a great week at the Senior Bowl, consistently overmatching interior offensive linemen and at times proving unblockable in one-on-one drills. His workouts appeared to solidify his status as a first-round pick. Some recent mock drafts have the Cowboys taking Hageman in the first round.
What scouts say:
“They don’t come much more physically imposing than Hageman, whose broad shoulders, long arms and trim waist have generated comparisons from J.J. Watt to John Henderson. Hageman’s physical tools are exciting and his rise from a tough childhood is inspirational, but best of all is his DL versatility. Hagemen looks more like a modern-day offensive tackle, possessing broad shoulders, long arms and a relatively trim waist. He remains a bit raw but possesses first round traits.” – CBSSportscom
“Finding one (defensive tackle) that plays hard all the time is rare. Look at Ra’Shede Hageman — he has got all the potential. Who knows? Maybe he is worth a first-round pick, but teams are going to have to get comfortable with the fact there is a lot of tape of him not playing hard every snap, where he kind of goes away for a bit.” – NFL.com’s Paul Burmeister
Does he fit in Dallas: Hageman’s length and athleticism makes him an intriguing possibility to man the three-technique in the Cover 2 defense, the position Jason Hatcher occupied last year. That player must be a backfield-crashing force that can stop the run and rush the passer. Hageman has the ability to do both. Scouts are seeing Hageman as a player that can play in either the 3-4 or the 4-3, so whether he fits doesn’t appear to be a huge concern.
The bottom line? Hageman’s size is rare for the defensive tackle position. So is his speed. Some scouts are saying that Hagemen will test like J.J. Watt at the scouting combine. The Cowboys must figure two things out. First, whether the plays off Burmeister referenced were an aberration or a trend. Second, can he be the force the Cowboys need at the three-technique. If he’s a first-round pick, the Cowboys have to count on him playing right away.