The Falcons made an uncharacteristic move when they drafted Ra'Shede Hageman in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. There are questions about Hageman's consistency, but his talent is not in question. It's virtually unheard of that the Falcons invest significant resources into a player with known makeup concerns coming into the NFL.
Hageman is 6'6" and 311 pounds, which makes him a pretty prototypically sized nose tackle. Jay Adams has shared, however, that Hageman won't be listed as a tackle on the Falcons' roster.
Ra'Shede Hageman will be listed as a defensive end with the Falcons #FalconsDraft #RiseUp— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) May 9, 2014
Hageman's incredible athleticism, particularly remarkable for a man his size, make it possible for the former tight end to bounce outside and be disruptive as a defensive end, particularly in 3-4 sets. He has the versatility to thrive in Mike Nolan's defense.
Surely new defensive line coach Bryan Cox had a say in this pick, and his vote of confidence should assuage some concerns about the character and motivation issues that have accompanied Hageman throughout this process. Cox had the opportunity to work with Hageman at the Senior Bowl, and clearly feels comfortable with Atlanta's ability to coach him to achieve his considerable potential.
What we do know for certain about Hageman is that he definitely brings some nastiness to the defensive line. Hageman had a challenging childhood and learned to channel the frustration and rage he experienced into his on-the-field performance. If you wanted to see the Falcons get tougher over the course of this offseason, you should be thrilled about this pick.
What do you think about Atlanta's selection of Ra'Shede Hageman? Where do you expect him to fit into the defense?