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Bryan Cox: Ra'Shede Hageman improving, but needs to put it all together

It sounds like another offseason of Hageman watch.

Hitting an #elite #quarterback.
Hitting an #elite #quarterback.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Since being drafted near the top of the second round, fans have been looking forward to seeing Ra'Shede Hageman reach his potential. Hageman was a rare Thomas Dimitroff pick with character concerns but a truly rare athletic prospect. He was considered a project, but has flashed that elite talent.

The flashes, however, have been few and far between. Bryan Cox is still looking for improvement, but sees reason for optimism. Per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

"I’d like to see some improvement in him this season," Falcons defensive line coach Bryan Cox told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I think he’s done a good job this offseason of working to get his pad level lower and working on his ankle flexing and some of the things that can make him a better player."

Fans would like to see that improvement, too. He is the type of player who could take control of a game, but it has been said that he needs to improve the time and effort to become a consistent and effective player. Many hoped he would break out in his first season under Dan Quinn, but he about 40 percent of his snaps and finished with only one sack.

"He’s still in the building," Cox said. "He’s more alert in meetings. He’s trying to work his butt off. The good thing about it is that he’s one piece to the puzzle. We have a lot of guys that we are trying to play and fit and see how this whole thing shakes down, but I think it’s going to be a really important year for him."

Hageman is expected to get more snaps at defensive end, where he may get a better shot at showing off his pass rushing skills. At defensive tackle, he has primarily been just a guy. Hopefully another offseason with improved dedication can turn Hageman into an impact player.