I'm taking a look at selected players leading up to the NFL draft, which begins May 8. The reports are based on watching multiple games on draftbreakdown.com; I'll let you know when there is an opinion other than my own. I'm not a fan of having to only watch them off a TV feed -- you don't always get the best angle, or see all the players -- but it's the best I can do now and it helps provide a snapshot. The draft analysts -- especially those from ESPN.com, NFL.com and CBSSports.com -- help fill in the gap, especially in terms of where they are projected.
Player: Ra'Shede Hageman
Position: Defensive line
College production: Third-team All-American this past season. He had 13 tackles for loss and eight batted passes in earning team MVP honors in 2013.
How he'd fit: As a versatile lineman, capable of playing end in a 3-4 and rushing inside in a nickel package. The Redskins could have four defensive linemen 30 or older when the season begins. It would be good to get a little more youth. Even though they signed Jason Hatcher to help the interior rush, they still need more help/depth in this area. Hageman likely will work best in a one-gap scheme, which the Redskins might use more of this season.
What I liked: He makes some plays that definitely whet the appetite, so there is definite potential with him. The skills are evident and, if developed, he could be a definite presence as an interior rusher. He definitely looks the part -- and then some. I saw him drive a Wisconsin guard back in a short-yardage situation, reach over and help make the stop with one arm, displaying his power. On another play, he drilled the left guard back, knock him to the ground and then, as Hageman fell on top of the guard, he reached over and made a tackle at the running back's feet for a loss. At times, he displays an excellent initial burst -- with both hands and feet -- and played with good power. He had a couple of batted passes that were impressive. On one, as he ran a stunt to his right, he continued to drive the guard back while jumping and deflecting the pass. He had consecutive nice plays against Iowa: first, while aligned over center, he used a swim move to get past and record a tackle for a loss. On the next play, he powered his way to the left and made a stop for a 3-yard gain on second-and-long. He has long arms, which are always a good plus for a lineman. He was Athletic enough to have considered playing hoops at Minnesota.
What I didn't: He'll flash, but leaves you wanting more. You'd see a big-time play on one snap and then scratch your head for the next several. I would not use the words "high motor" to describe him. He wasn't horrible, but could have been a lot better. He did not get back into plays once taken out, even when there was an opportunity where he could help. He struggled against double-teams; obviously those can be difficult but he was unable to anchor and would end up sliding back a few yards. He would get too upright and allow himself to be taken out of plays. I did not see any real moves as a pass-rusher, so he would need good coaching in this area. Sometimes drifted as a rusher, perhaps because he didn't seem to have much of a plan while trying to get to the quarterback. I wonder about his instincts locating he ball. If Hageman had been more productive or consistent, he's a top-16 pick based on his ability but he takes a fall because of his inconsistencies.
Projection: Late first. There's a good chance Hageman will be gone when the Redskins select at 34, but most mock drafts I've seen peg him as a very late first-round pick -- 29 to New England seems to be a popular choice. But that also means there's a chance he'll be available considering the Redskins own the second pick in the second round. It's unlikely, but it's not a stretch. Read this to learn more about Hageman's upbringing. He had some issues at Minnesota, but he was also a team captain last season.