Hageman picked by Atlanta Falcons

by Jack Satzinger

Former Gophers defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman was selected No. 37 in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons on Friday night. Hageman, who is Minnesota's first draft pick since 2010, was expected to be a first-rounder but slipped to early in the second round.

"I'm super excited," Hageman told the Minnesota Daily. "At the end of the day I just had to be patient and that's what I did."

Hageman said the Falcons want him to play defensive end at the next level, which could be a great fit for him due to his immense athleticism. 

"I can do it all day," he said. 

Hageman traveled to New York for the draft and was accompanied by his family as well as former coaches Giovan Jenkins of Washburn High School and Jerry Kill of the Gophers. 

"I could not be more proud of Ra'Shede as he has worked tremendously hard to get to this point," Kill said in a release. "This is not only a great moment for him, but also for our program, the University and the state of Minnesota."

Hageman called waiting for his named to be called "hectic", but now he's at ease since he's going to play for a team he's already familiar with. The 6-foot, 6-inch defensive lineman was mentored by Falcons head coach Mike Smith at January's Senior Bowl and they established a firm relationship.

"I have the upper hand now," Hageman said. "I know them already, which gives me an advantage a little bit."

To read more about Hageman's path to the draft, click here.