Ra’Shede Hageman   DT   Minnesota

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1

STRENGTHS
Ra’Shede has the size, strength and athletic agility to be a dominant defensive lineman for the team that selects him. He has the body type that most teams would like to see their entire defensive lineman have. He has long arms that help to keep offensive linemen away from his legs and off his body. He shows the lateral agility to string out plays to the sidelines and shed and make tackles in the hole. Ra’Shede is one of those players that defensive coaches dream about to anchor and build a defense around. He has the potential to be one of the best defensive players in this draft in a 1-gap attack offense. He lacks the techniques right now to stop the run but his size/speed ratio and athletic ability to take on a double team when pass rushing from the interior will be very hard for most teams to ignore.

CONCERNS
Ra’Shede can make any play on the field required of an impact defensive lineman, but a lack of consistency and being used in a rotation defensive line scheme is troubling to me. He makes a good play and then on the next play he looks like a zombie moving slowly while everyone else on the field easily gets away from him. Ra’Shede struggles “mentally” to defend against the run and is rotated out of the lineup because of this problem. Of course that means he isn’t learning “how” to defend against the run or expected to get better doing it. I mean seriously, how can a young player getter better when he is not on the field? I really think that Ra’Shede’s potential to improve has been limited by the coaching on his college team and Ra’Shede might wind up being a more of an impact player at the next level than he has been at the college level if given the chance to improve.

BOTTOM LINE
It frustrates me to see players with Ra’Shede talents not play to his capabilities because of a lack of knowledge and techniques. Ra’Shede disappears at times because he just looks to be unsure of what he is supposed to do on some plays. Maybe he lacks that football intelligence that we all expect from a top draft pick or maybe he lacks the effort on every play. The truth is when this kid fires off the line on passing downs, he is almost impossible to stop on the college level even with a double team. With his size and athletic talents he could play in any style of defense along the defensive line. He could play inside or outside. He could play in a 2-gap or a 1-gap attack defense. Why doesn’t Ra’Shede play with more consistency? That’s the million dollar question. I don’t believe it’s because of a lack of work ethic because the kid is in great shape. That means he works hard off the field but maybe he doesn’t work correctly on the field. There is way too much potential to pass on this kid past the 1st round. Nevertheless if you are expecting Ra’Shede to impact right away at a consistent and high level, I think that would be asking too much. He is a project unless you play a defense that is a 1-gap attack style and doesn’t expect its defensive linemen to stop the run. He can impact as a disrupter in the back field. He can push the pocket, get some sacks and flush the QB from the pocket because that is his nature. But expecting him to impact in a 2-gap system, stuffing the run is asking too much until he learns and matures more on the field. He reminds me of former Tennessee DT John Henderson who was an impact player and was the 9th pick of the 2002 draft by the Jaguars. The difference is, no one ever took Henderson out of a game and rotated him with other defensive linemen. That’s a big difference. I suspect Ra’Shede will not make it out of the 1st round in spite of his inconsistent play. Once again, potential may trump LTI.

Drew Boylhart
FEB/2014