Atlanta Falcons: Is Ra’Shede Hageman ready to soar?


When the Atlanta Falcons drafted Ra’Shede Hageman in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, they knew exactly what they were getting. They would be embarking on a player whose potential is astronomical, but would be a grind to get him there.

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Just months after being drafted, Hageman was put into the spotlight by the HBO show, Hard Knocks that followed the Falcons around as they went through the ups and downs of training camp. Hageman was a regular on the show, and showed to the fans that he was a big project and wasn’t ready to succeed right away.

The 6-6, 311 pounder was looked upon as an immature ungrateful player, but something about him made you want to root for him. Hageman was awarded a spot on the 40-man roster as a rookie and was used sparingly throughout his first NFL season. He finished the year with 16 tackles and one sack but shined the most on the field goal blocking team. Hageman blocked three kicks as a member on that unit which was one of the highest marks in the NFL.

Hageman slid in the 2014 draft due to character issues and those issues re-arose last November. Hageman appeared to have his Instagram hacked and screenshots of his messages were leaked showing him trying to buy weed.

While nothing has happened since, Hageman will now have to answer to Dan Quinn who will not settle for instances like these that maybe Mike Smith would have. Quinn and his office have already released 2014 draft pick, Prince Shembo due to an arrest just a couple of months ago.

After a year or learning, Hageman now enters into year two, and is projected to start at defensive tackle for the Falcons in 2015. While nothing is set in stone at this point, he will have to prove his worth and show that he in fact is ready to take on the challenge as a full-time starter in the NFL.

Hageman talked about the intensity of an NFL locker room and about how he isn’t the top dog anymore like he was while at the University of Minnesota. He spoke on the seriousness level compared to that of college and is appearing to be much more mature heading into training camp.

One thing is for sure, this a business and the Falcons are relying on him to give them everything he has and be the best he can be in order to help them win football games. Lets hope he is ready to take on that challenge in 2015.