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Atlanta Falcons roster review: Ra'Shede Hageman

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Ra'Shede Hageman finally made strides and showed flashes in 2015 of the kind of player that he could really be. Atlanta needs him to be a great starting 3-technique for the long-term if they want their defense to take it to the next level. Hageman seemed to have finally understood the new scheme in 2015 and should produce even more with more training under Dan Quinn and Brian Cox in 2016.

2015 Season in Review

Hageman had a good season his second year in the league. While he wasn't the best pass rusher and still needs to figure out how to use his hands properly in all situations, he showed a lot of growth in that area. The Falcons got six quarterback hits and one sack from him in 2015 and that was just scratching the surface of his potential as a 3-technique pass rusher. Against the run, Hageman showed strides in his game

He was able to dominate his gap and force double teams next to Paul Soliai in the middle. With Hageman and Soliai protecting the middle of the field versus the run, the Falcons defense looked much better than in the past. Hageman even showed some penetrating abilities and gap discipline that he hadn't shown before. Atlanta has a good run stuffer in Hageman already, but he still needs work in his hand usage and pass rush abilities.

Contract Breakdown

Hageman is in the third year of his four-year rookie deal in 2016. He's making just under $1.46 million in 2016 and just under $1.70 million in 2017. The Falcons have a great value here for a starting 3-technique, as he'll take up around 1% of the cap for the final two seasons of his deal. 1% of the cap for a starting player is more than worth the value.

2016 Projection

After showing flashes as a 3-technique in 2015, the Falcons should expect to get even more out of Hageman in 2016. His relationship with Brian Cox may come off as volatile at times, but it's because of how competitive Hageman is. Hageman is starting to have it all click, though. And once he finally has it all come together, the Falcons could have a force similar to what the Jaguars had in Marcus Stroud—a three-time Pro Bowl-caliber defensive tackle.