Continuing the countdown of the top 40 players on the Atlanta Falcons, let’s break down the 21st best player in defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman.
To read about the methodology in how these rankings came about, you can click here.
Total Score: 54.5/100
Last year’s rank: 46th
Player Grade: 52/100
Teams he is starter: 10 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 1 out of 32
Teams he is role player: 32 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +4
Positional Bonus: +3
Like Devonta Freeman, Hageman is another 2014 Falcons draftee that is expected to make a big leap in 2015. Hageman is expected to start for the team in their base package this season at under tackle. There, he’ll use his tremendous strength and power to stuff the run.
While most of Hageman’s increased reps will come trying to beef up the Falcons run defense, he’ll also get plenty of opportunities to put heat on the quarterback where the Falcons hope that he’s also made strides. Hageman’s initial burst off the line is very good, but to become a more effective pass-rusher he’ll need to refine and polish his hand use.
Too often in 2014 Hageman just relied on raw power and quickness to beat blockers. And for a player as gifted as Hageman, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But he’ll need refinement and with a head coach like Dan Quinn, who has his roots as a defensive line coach, coupled with continued
yelling motivation from position coach Bryan Cox, there’s plenty of reasons to believe that Hageman’s development is right on track.
But for 2015, Hageman is likely to be a part-time player, another component of the team’s deepening rotation of defensive linemen. He’ll often be supplanted by veteran Jonathan Babineaux on passing downs, which should be good for the second-year defensive tackle. Hageman was very raw coming out of Minnesota a year ago, and was notably quick to get down on himself when his play wasn’t up to par.
Hageman has taken strides to correct that issue, but it still is smart for the Falcons to develop him at his own pace so that he can continue to be built up into the player he is capable of becoming.
Hageman’s long-term value in Atlanta has yet to be determined. He could continue to play defensive tackle, but could also potentially dabble as a defensive end down the road, especially if 2015 proves to be Tyson Jackson’s last year in Atlanta. Hageman could be well suited to playing the “Red Bryant role” at defensive end down the line.
But that’s merely an option that the Falcons could explore for the future. For the time being, he’ll be asked to do what he does best, which is to use his physical tools to penetrate on the interior of the defensive line.