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Falcons Take Closer Look At Hageman

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The Atlanta Falcons are sure to take a close look at a number of top prospects before the May 8 NFL draft, including players they've already seen up close recently.

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Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY SportsMinnesota defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman is on the radar of the Falcons, who feel he can fit into any defensive scheme.

Last week, they conducted a private workout with Minnesota defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman, according to league source. Hageman was on the North team coached by the Falcons at this year's Senior Bowl. He spent a lot of time with new Falcons defensive line coach Bryan Cox.

During the Senior Bowl week, Falcons head coach Mike Smith raved about how Hageman had the talent to play in any defensive scheme. With the Falcons moving toward a 3-4-based setup, Hageman could project as a defensive end in such a system. Some experts say he's too tall, a 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, to play defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme.

Whatever the case, Cox certainly took an interest in Hageman at the Senior Bowl. At one point, he rode Hageman about running behind for a meeting with a team. Cox's tough love symbolized the potential he sees in the talented linemen.

Hageman, who has drawn comparisons to John Henderson, has been projected as a late first- or early second-round pick. The Falcons seem destined to address their need for either an offensive tackle or pass rusher if they keep the sixth overall pick. They own the fifth pick (37th overall) in the second round. It makes you wonder if they might consider Hageman if he's still on the board by then, although safety is likely to be a more pressing need if one doesn't fall out of the sky soon.

Getting bigger and tougher up front has been the Falcons' theme this offseason. On the defensive side, it meant the additions of nose tackle Paul Soliai and run-stuffing defensive endTyson Jackson. If Corey Peters isn't recovered from an Achilles' injury by the start of the season, the Falcons could need another young body up front at the other defensive end spot.

Hageman, a converted tight end, still is viewed as a raw talent although he'll enter the league as a 24-year-old rookie. Skeptics say he gets stood up too many times at the line of scrimmage.

Hageman comes from a rough background, having bounced around foster homes before being adopted, as detailed in this excellent piece written by ESPN's Adam Rittenberg.

Edited by turnerdburner33
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He will be a BEAST!!!! Mark my word wherever he goes. He can play outside or in. Later for all that when he was double teamed at Minn stuff. With all those 30 something's on our DL maybe we need to take a real close look! I love the trade back option, maybe get Lewan get a second and 4th. Trade that second and a 6th up for Hageman. With our second get Van Noy, 3rd D. Buchanon 4th Bishop Sankey 4th Cyril Richardson 5th J C Copeland 5th TE Crockett Gilmore 7th J. Thomas 7th S. Barrett 7th Connor Shaw. We get young studs who can help and you still have UDFA's to get WR's, RB's, DL. OL. OLB's This is the way to go!!!

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Interesting that they're looking at this guy. They've already really fortified that 3-4DE / 4-3 DT position.

We need to fortify the OL similarly, and get 1 pass rusher.

That said, I'm never against a potential top talent on the DL. If he can be a disruptor from that 5 tech, that would be excellent.

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Could Hageman be this years Sheldon Richardson?

If Matthews and Robinson are gone, I would be fine trading down to the teens and getting him. I dont think he makes it to round 2.

adding Hageman gives this DL rotation in camps:

DE - Jackson, Goodman, Jerry

NT - Soliai, Peters

DE - Babinueax, Hageman, Matthews

looks good to me. Nice mix of vets and youth. Jerry and Peters are on 1 year deals. Hageman would prevent us from scrambling should they not work out. And if Hageman comes and looks boss, Jerry and/or Matthews can be cut with no pain.

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