Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Minnesota defensive lineman generating buzz at Senior Bowl, emerging as possible Ravens target

MOBILE, Ala. - On Sunday, Senior Bowl executive director and former Ravens executive Phil Savage referred to University of Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman as a giant on the inside of the defensive line.

Hageman is 6-foot-6 and 318 pounds, big even by defensive line standards.

He is also athletic. ranked him as the No. 2 "craziest athlete" in college football heading into this past season, behind only projected top-5 pick Jadaveon Clowney.

The defensive line is not one of Baltimore's primary need areas heading into the offseason, but Hageman is emerging as a possible first-round option for the Ravens as well as several other teams with the way he has looked at times during practice at the Senior Bowl this week.

Hageman told The Times that he has met with Ravens officials in Mobile.

"Any team, whether you're playing a 3-4 or a 4-3 [defensive front], I think that he has the skill set to play in both of those schemes," said Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith, who is coaching Hageman and the North team at the Senior Bowl. "I've been impressed with his athleticism at his size. ... He's done himself well."

Also, with Baltimore, starting defensive tackle Arthur Jones is likely to leave as a free agent. The Ravens' other starting defensive linemen, Haloti Ngata and Chris Canty, will both be 31 by the start of next season and may not be back with Baltimore in 2015. And Hageman is a versatile player who scouts see as capable of being good as either a defensive end or a defensive tackle in a 3-4 front like the Ravens'.

"The problem is that he is very much a boom-or-bust-type player," longtime publisher Tony Pauline said. "I think what you've seen this week is what his entire career is. He's up and down. He looks like Tarzan sometimes, and he plays like Jane at other times.

"He's got all the physical skills to be a completely dominant defensive lineman, but he'll make one or two good plays and then he'll disappear for stretches."

He didn't start either of his first two seasons at Minnesota, but he had six sacks as a junior in 2012 and was first-team All Big 10 as a senior this past season.

"If you get him, light a fire underneath him and get him to play up to his level of ability on a consistent basis, you're going to have a very good, potentially dominant defensive lineman," Pauline said. "Or you could have 'Big Daddy' Dan Wilkinson, a guy who never reaches his potential and plays when he wants to. That's the bottom line."

However, Hageman will have another chance to improve his draft stock come the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis next month. Smith is also curious to see how Hageman does during the Senior Bowl game on Saturday.

"I think the final part of this week will be how they play in the game when there's not coaches standing behind them, maybe getting them to get in the right shade or the right alignment," Smith said. "We're going to get a true evaluation of really playing football where there's just 22 guys out there, and coaches are standing on the sidelines."