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Ra’Shede Hageman breakout season watch, Volume 4: Maybe it’ll be 2017

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Hageman is a perpetual breakout candidate. Is he ready?

Atlanta Falcons v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

Ra’Shede Hageman has quietly turned himself into a quality player, albeit one who no longer has an obvious starting role with Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe in the fold. His immense size and potential ensures that he’ll always be more tantalizing than the average backup defensive tackle, however.

This statement from Dan Quinn won’t help quench that little fire.

Hageman’s contract is up after this season, and as we’ve said before, he’s going to need a quality season to stick around. There may be a team willing to take a shot on Hageman (and perhaps a sizeable one, contract-wise) given what teams know he can do, but if he were to break out now, he’d virtually ensure it. From Atlanta or someone else.

Vaughn notes that Hageman has been working hard in the weight room this offseason, and should be noticeably stronger than last year. Like most offseasons, Hageman is saying all of the right things. He can focus on making an impact as a backup with a new defensive coordinator and pass rush coach.

We all know that great camps don’t always translate to great seasons, of course, and Hageman has teased us with his talent numerous times before. But given the defensive improvements we already expect to see from this team, having Hageman step up might be the catalyst for even greater heights.

Let’s see if it happens.