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Falcons' Ra'Shede Hageman honest about flaws in his game


NEW YORK -- The Atlanta Falcons certainly don't have to worry about their second-round draft pick, Ra'Shede Hageman, having an inflated opinion of himself.

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They won't know exactly what kind of NFL potential he has until training camp and beyond, but they can be sure of this right now: The former Minnesota defensive lineman knows how to look in the mirror. Asked about scouting opinions that suggest he is alternately dominant and underproductive from game to game, Hageman offered a response that was more harsh on himself than his critics.

"It takes a man to know his flaws. I've known since Day One, playing D-tackle, my pad level sucks. My hip mobility, my ankle mobility ... sometimes I take plays off," he said. "But those aren't permanent things. I can change. I can learn and educate myself. If you master your craft, all that, you can take care of that. ... I know the potential I have, and I see that. And that's why it's so fun to learn the game because it's something you love to do. Scouts? That's their job."

Hageman said he struck a strong chemistry with the Falcons staff during the Reese's Senior Bowl practice week, defensive line coach Bryan Cox in particular. Atlanta no doubt saw plenty it liked in the 6-6, 318-pounder who can play multiple positions up front. General manager Thomas Dimitroff said in the offseason that the Falcons' plan was to get bigger and tougher on the line of scrimmage. They did that through free agency, but continued the trend in drafting offensive tackle Jake Matthews of Texas A&M, and Hageman.

He's certainly big. He's tough, and he's his own biggest critic as well.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.



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