This Gentle Giant was the unquestioned leader of the Gopher Football team in 2013. For years we heard about the physical tools and athletic freakiness of Hageman; but it wasn't until his junior year before we started to see tangible evidence that Hageman really was one of the best defensive tackles in the Big Ten. Then during his senior year Hageman went from an early round draft pick to a likely 1st round or early 2nd round pick.
Recruited to Minnesota by Tim Brewster and staff out of the Minneapolis school system that is not known for producing D1 football players. At Minneapolis Washburn Hageman dominated the Minneapolis city league primarily as a TE. But what has always stood out about Hageman was his athletic ability. He also dominated the league on the basketball court in high school and probably could have played D1 basketball somewhere. His productive senior season and natural abilities earned him a high, 3-star ranking and reported offers from Ohio State, Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Iowa State. But he committed to Tim Brewster in November of his senior year and eventually became one of the best defensive tackles in the Big Ten.
Before we dive head first into Hageman's NFL future, he does have an interesting past. This young man has been through an awful lot and overcome some significant obstacles to be sitting in the draft room at Radio City Music Hall on night one of the NFL Draft.
This SB Nation feature on RaShede Hageman last fall is a must-read. I'll tantalize you with this...
Mom drank when she was pregnant with him. Traded sex for drugs while he was in diapers. State authorities dragged him out of a crack house closet when he was 4 years old. Threw Mom in prison. Dad? Dead before the kid met him.
Start most kids off like that, they're looking at 15 to 20 by the time they're 18. Unless they learn to catch a football in traffic or cut down a running back behind the line. That's what Ra'Shede Hageman learned to do, which opened another path - one he followed to the University of Minnesota
While still young, Hageman was adopted by a young family and I'd like to say that the rest was history but the path to the NFL wasn't without it's many complications. I don't need to go into the details here but this link above is worth a read and very interesting as it paints a picture of who Ra'Shede Hageman is today because of where he came from.
As a student at the U Hageman was very involved in the community and particularly enjoyed giving back to kids. An episode of Brick by Brick was dedicated to Shede.
I believe that some NFL team is going to be getting a good young man on their roster who has the potential to be a difference maker on the field.
Hageman is an interesting prospect for the NFL. He has NFL size, strength, speed and athleticism to boot. But this SB Nation profile does a nice job of breaking down his strengths and weaknesses. He is really quite talented but he also tends to disappear at times.
I admit that I laughed and muttered "oh shit" a few times watching him toss guys up on random plays in those five games. Against Northwestern, there are some flat-out hilarious plays where a guard goes flying back so far and fast that it almost looks fake.
Visual evidence of the hilarity...
But following a play like that there is the obvious question...
After I stopped laughing I got frustrated though, because I asked myself why in the hell can't he do that ALL the time?
This is going to be a very important question for any team looking to draft Hageman
The full article is pretty good and takes an honest look at Hageman's college career. Ultimately the author believes that Hageman makes a really nice 2nd round pick and would be best suited by a move to defensive end.
If I were drafting Hageman, that's exactly what I'm doing. That's a Captain Obvious move if you run a 3-4, but I'd do it in a 4-3 as well. I don't know that he will ever be dominant as a defensive tackle, but I do see the potential for dominance from defensive end. Minnesota stuck him out at defensive end a few times, and he did some pretty good things considering it wasn't his full-time position.
Another fine SB Nation Draft profile also hints at Hageman's best position eventually being defensive end, while also reiterating his athleticism and potential.
Hageman has the skills to be a very good defensive tackle. He's just not quite there yet. Because of that, he's going to get drafted more on his potential than the player he is right now. Hageman is an ultra-athletic tackle who posted 20.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks and 11 passes defended the past two seasons.
Some will say Hageman has position versatility, but others will say he has an undefined spot. Hageman's best position might be as a five technique going against offensive tackles. That allows Hageman to rely on his combination of power and quickness. If he's lined up in any other spot, he might not be as effective.
His NFL.com profile comes to similar conclusions about Hageman's potential and questions.
Hageman will be one of the hottest prospects in the 2014 class in the spring. He will tantalize evaluators with his freakish athleticism and superior physical dimensions, but his game tape doesn't match his natural talent at this time. Although Hageman's production has been solid over the past two years, he hasn't dominated elite competition consistently. Additionally, he has shown an unrefined game that needs some touch-up work by a quality NFL defensive line coach.
So what does this all mean and how will this play out for Shede tonight in New York? There are about 700,000,000 NFL mock drafts available to anyone who can access the world wide web. Trying to gauge who NFL teams deem as their best fit from the available pool is virtually impossible. But that doesn't stop any knucklehead with a typewriter from making guesses and posting them for all of us to discuss.
- Last month the SB Nation NFL sites held a mock draft and Hagemen was selected by the Seahawks to finish round 1.
- Both of SB Nation's NFL Draft experts have Hageman going to the Patriots at #29.
- Up until very recently both Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr had Hagemen going to New England with the 29th pick. Though neither of them have him going in round 1 in their final mocks.
- CBS Mocks drafts have a couple of their experts predicting Hageman gets picked late in the 1st to Denver and New England.
- And Yahoo!'s Evan Silva has Shede going to Seattle at the end of the first as well.