Gophers DT Ra'Shede Hageman making an impact at Senior Bowl
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Ra'Shede Hageman is taking advantage of the showcase that is the Senior Bowl.
The former Minnesota Gophers star defensive tackle has been garnering plenty of praise and notice throughout the week of practices in Mobile, Ala., leading up to Saturday's Senior Bowl (3 p.m., NFL Network) -- a well regarded NFL Draft scouting event that brings together the nation's top upperclassmen from 2013.
Hageman came into the week already projected as a potential mid to late-first round draft pick, and by the sound of it, he's only helping his case.
He has the physical attributes to turn heads -- he registered at 6-foot-6, 318-pounds at the Senior Bowl weigh-in.
Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith told NFL.com's Chase Goodbread that he came away from practice impressed by Hageman's versatility as a D-lineman.
"Any team, whether you're playing a 3-4 or a 4-3, I think he's got the skill set to play in both of those schemes," Smith said. "I've been impressed with his athleticism at his size. ... He's done himself well."
CBSSports.com's Rob Rang wrote earlier in the week about Hageman's impressive showing in Senior Bowl practice, noting the Minnesota native "flashed dominating strength and length, routinely driving opponents into the backfield."
Rang, however, did voice concern about Hageman's periodic inconsistencies -- a common knock against the prospect.
Regardless, Hageman's status as a first round pick remains strong. Rang currently has Hageman slotted at No. 27 on his NFL Draft Big Board, projecting him going as the 21st overall pick to Green Bay. ESPN.com has moved Hageman up to No. 20 on its overall prospects list.
Hageman is expected to be at the Draft Combine next month in Indianapolis (Feb. 18-25).
It's been seven years since the Gophers last produced a first round pick (Laurence Maroney - 2007). Hageman will likely end the drought.
Here's a look at few tweets about Hageman from the Senior Bowl this week:
Okay, I've seen enough of Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman to know I'm a fan. BIG, lean, athletic, good use of hands. Sheds blocks.
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) January 21, 2014
I had RaShede Hageman and Aaron Ronald at No. 35 and 36 heading into the week. They'll be moving up.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 22, 2014
Minnesota DT Ra'Shede Hageman weighed into the @seniorbowl at an official 6'6" 318 lbs. - scary athleticism to size ratio. Will be coveted.— Dion Caputi (@nfldraftupdate) January 20, 2014
Surprised by coach Kill http://t.co/M3QFvWvfCL— Rashede Hageman (@Rashedehageman) January 23, 2014