Breaking Down Rashede Hageman, Defensive Tackle, Minnesota

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Do the Chargers roll the dice and draft a player that needs time to develop?

The NFL loves explosive players who have rare size/athleticism combinations. Minnesota's defensive tackle Rashede Hageman was thought to be a guy that would shoot up draft boards because he fits this very bill. Much like the Michael Brockers, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Ezekiel Ansah's of the world. Hageman stands at 6'6, 310 pounds, with over 34" arms, also boasting a 35.5 inch vertical jump.

The issue with Hageman is there's a lot of projection. He had a great opportunity to stand out and the Senior Bowl, and failed. At the underwear olympics, where it features "rare athletes", Hageman was only a top 5 performer in the bench press, which is the least "football drill" at the combine. However, he does flash, and that's where we'll start.

Where He Excels

  • Flashes first step explosiveness
  • Shows above average athleticism
  • Plays with a good Motor
  • Versatility
Hageman flashes a rare first step, when he launches off low, locks his arms out, he's impossible to block. When this happens, he looks like a top 10 pick.

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Hageman can look his arms out, and jolt the opposing lineman. The strength he has is evident.

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Hageman's athleticism can't be matched by opposing lineman. Combining that, and his strength, it's easy to see why people will fall in love with him.

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Hageman has shown that he can play with proper pad level, as well as show he can get up and down the line of scrimmage. He moves very well laterally as he's chasing the play. This all needs to be more consistent, but the fact that it flashes routinely, makes Hageman an intriguing prospect.

Hageman also has the versatility to play anywhere from head up on the center, to head up on the tackle. You'll likely get a variety of answers to where he's best suited, I believe it's as a 5 tech defensive end, where he can be disruptive in the passing lanes and attack the passer.

What Could Hold Him Back at the Next Level

  • Extremely Raw
  • Must Improve Handwork
  • Lacks Counter Moves
  • Shows poor Awareness
The majority of Hageman's production comes from his raw athleticism. Even in college he wasn't able to get by off of that, and won't be anywhere near effective at the next level without developing proper technique. I've seen Hageman on skates far too often for a player with his ability. This next GIF just shouldn't happen.

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One of my biggest issues with Hageman is he doesn't keep his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. Lineman are able to wash him out of the play and just use his momentum against him.

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Some of the most notable areas Hageman must improve on are his hand usage and locking out his arms. Both are largely non-existent. He needs to be more effective and more consistent hand-fighting. Hageman doesn't do a good job of letting the offensive lineman get into his chest. When this happens, he gives up leverage, and this is why you see him being blocked 4-5 yards downfield so often.

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Hageman appears to have the traits to be a dominant run defender, but he's got to iron out those technical creases and absolutely needs to use his length and improve his hand usage.

Grade/Final Thought

Multiple Pro Bowl Player, Top 10 8.5 – 9.0
Highly Productive Starter, 1st Round 8.0 – 8.4
Very Good Starter, Early 2nd Round 7.8 – 7.9
Reliable Starter, 2nd Round 7.5 – 7.7
Potential Starter in Year 2, 3rd Round 7.0 – 7.4
Backup/Spot Starter, 4th Round 6.5 – 6.9
Productive Backup, 5th Round 6.0 – 6.4
Very Good Backup/STs, 6th Round 5.5 – 5.9
Quality Backup/Good STs, 7th Round 5.0 – 5.4
Backup/STs/Project Player, 7th Round 4.5 – 4.9
Priority Free Agent w/ Limitations 4.0 – 4.4
Non-Draftable

Trait Weight Grade
Run Stopping 2 1.6
Hand Usage/placement 4 2.5
First Step 2 2
Tackling 2 1.8
Disengage 3 2.3
Read & React 2 1.7
Leverage/Strength 4 3.7
Pass Rush 2 1.7
Toughness/Motor 2 1.8
Lateral Movement 2 1.9

Hageman grades out to a 7.56, or a fringe 2nd round talent. Obviously, he's expected to go much higher than this, given his athletic ability. He has flashed ability to be very disruptive. He's also shown that he can disappear for long stretches of the game. As I said, he projects as a 5 technique. If he can maximize his potential, he can be Richard Seymour. If he doesn't get any better, he'll be a journeymen fighting to make rosters.

How He Fits as a Charger

Hageman isn't the answer at nose tackle that fans are hoping for. He's more of an attacking type player, and is better against the pass. I do feel like San Diego should spend a draft pick on a defensive end, but I don't think bringing in a guy early who you would have to develop at the position is that high on the Chargers needs list. He also is more in the mold of Kendall Reyes, an obvious passing down pass rusher, than an every down player. I wouldn't feel comfortable taking Hageman before Day 3 given how long he has to go as a prospect.

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