Ra'Shede Hageman 2014 NFL Draft scouting report

USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota defensive tackle is one of the most promising yet confounding prospects in this year's draft.

Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman is a challenging evaluation. Hageman is obviously a supreme athlete for the position, but he should have played much better than he did in college. There are stretches where Hageman can dominate. But then there are others where you can't even tell he's on the field.

It doesn't help that the Golden Gophers' defensive scheme often rotated defensive tackles. Or that Hageman converted from tight end at Minnesota. But when Hageman is on, he's an impressive physical specimen.

By in large, though, he's a player who is going to get drafted more so for his potential than what he can do right now.

Pass rush: As a pass rusher, Hageman was at his best when Minnesota split him out wide against an offensive tackle. That allowed him to take advantage of his power/quickness combination much more so than when he lines up inside. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Hageman said his favorite position was playing a loose five technique to go one-on-one against offensive tackles.

On the outside, Hageman is a bull rusher. On the inside, Hageman has a solid swim move that allows him to slip past blockers. Isn't consistent as a rusher. Hageman will get through the line on one play, but get completely stonewalled the next. Doesn't seem to have a counter move when his first one fails. Hageman has admitted to over thinking things while he's shifted to defensive tackle.

"Then when I over think, I feel like I’m not doing something right; I’m always freezing up," Hageman said at the combine. "So I feel like once I get a better sense of just educating myself on d-tackle and just what to look for on the o-line, I’ll be able to stop thinking and just play."

Pursuit/Quickness: There are few quicker defensive tackles in the draft this year than Hageman. A converted tight end, and high school basketball player, Hageman is a top athlete at the position.

Run defense: When Hageman is playing hard, he's the type of defensive tackle who can shoot gaps and get into the backfield in a hurry. Hageman can get down the line faster than many defensive tackles of his size. While he's not quite like draft-mate Aaron Donald in this regard, he's very athletic.

Strength/Tackling: Hageman is obviously a strong player, but he doesn't always show it. Or rely on it. When faced with a double team, Hageman will get easily neutralized. Hageman should either try and add more strength or figure out how to use it better. As a tackler, he's what you'd expect for a defensive tackle. Once he gets his hands on the ball carrier, he doesn't need help to finish off the tackle.

Technique: As is the case with a lot of defensive tackles as tall as Hageman, can get too high when coming off the snap. He'll also let his stance get narrow. This allows offensive linemen to move him around and pushed down the line. Hand work looked better in 2013 than 2012. Knkows when to get his hands up to bat down a pass. Defended nine passes as as senior. Was actually dropped into coverage on occasion. Moved all around the line at Minnesota, playing three, two and one technique, and did so on the left and right side. Even lined up at the five and had some success.

Final word: 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.

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