Chicago Bears: Why Ra’Shede Hageman Is the Pick


A year ago fans of the Chicago Bears were sideswiped when their team took a talented but raw guard as their first round pick.  Could a repeat be in the works this May?

Hageman is the spitting defensive image of Kyle Long

Back in 2013 the offensive line class was heralded as one of the best in recent memory with a host of tackles and guards expected to go in the top 15.  Among that crop was included a relative unknown in the class, a second-generation player out of Oregon named Kyle Long.  Having endured some legal troubles early in his college career, the young man rebounded to eventually work his way into the starting lineup at guard for the Ducks.  Senior Bowl and combine performances showed a player thick with physical talent but also inexperience and already being 24-years old.  Yet, in spite of it all, Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery didn’t blink.  He selected the young man with the 20th overall pick in the first round, to the great surprise of fans and experts.  The move was questioned and criticized from all angles, but Emery simply stated Long had way too much promise to pass on.  Fast forward a few months and the son of Hall of Famer Howie Long reached his first Pro Bowl as a rookie.  Safe to say the pick was a success.

Looking ahead now to the 2014 NFL draft and anyone watching closely must be feeling a strong sense of déjà vu.  Like a year ago the Bears are in the middle of a massive retooling with their line, only this year it’s the defensive line, a unit that permitted the most rushing yards allowed in franchise history and allow came in dead last in sacks.  It was a group long on age and growing weaker in talent.  Emery knows his rebuild efforts won’t be completed unless he pulls off a similar success in the draft as he did with Long in 2013.  The weird part?  A remarkably identical player has emerged.

Ra’Shede Hageman isn’t getting much attention among the draft experts of late.  A defensive tackle out of Minnesota, he had a fairly good but not overwhelming 2013 season.  He hasn’t played the position for very long, just since he entered college and he’s already 24-years old.  Also like Long scouts agree he is one of the best physical specimens they’ve seen at the position in awhile.  At 6’6″, 310 lbs he has all the size and length in the world coupled with impressive speed, power, quickness and explosion.  He flashed dominance during games but still looks inconsistent, not yet congniscant of how to fully utilize his immense skill set.  That is why teams remain wary of taking him high in the draft.

Phil Emery shows he never fears getting “his” guy in the NFL draft

Not that such a thing would scare Phil Emery.  Chicago Bears fans have learned that the enigmatic general manager has no fear going after players he wants, whether they might be reaches or otherwise.  He traded for Brandon Marshall despite his history of off-the-field problems, then traded up for Alshon Jeffery despite constant talk of his having weight problems at South Carolina.  Emery believes that with good coaches and team leadership around them, talented athletes can become talented football players.  Jeffery and Long are two excellent examples.  If the same can come true for Ra’Shede Hageman, than the fans will find it very easy to forget Henry Melton.

Tags: Chicago Bears Kyle Long NFL Draft Phil Emery Ra'shede Hageman

  • DiscountPCRepair SATX

    He may be the pick, but not at 14.

    Gilbert or Clinton-Dix … or trade back.

    • Erik Lambert

      It really is just a gut feeling on my part. Every time I evaluate again I still feel defensive tackle is the target and Hageman fills every single box highlighted by what we know about Phil Emery. Donald is too short. Tuitt is too injury prone. Jernigan lacks pass rush explosion. I read a great article detailing how Emery takes on a similar style to former Bears GM Jim Finks, the architect of those great 80s teams. He built the defenses from the inside out. I feel Emery is taking that same road. If the Bears can ensure themselves of a dominant or at least a really good front, they can worry about the secondary a little later.

      • bobportcharlotte

        I feel vindicated as I began touting Hageman about three months ago with the 14th pick. I admit to swaying afterward between Ha Ha and then Gilbert or maybe Pryor but have gone back to my original pick of Hageman. Now I am beginning to wonder if Emery might not draft a QB in the 3rd or 4th round since the pool of back-up QBs is getting pretty dry. Fun to speculate, don’t you think?

        • Erik Lambert

          A favorite activity of mine. Unfortunately the guy I had my eye on, Tom Savage is gaining steam like you can’t believe. However we may still have a shot at another guy named Jeff Mathews who I think has some good talent and has the mindset of a great backup. Hageman was a good target, Bob. Not only does he have great upside but he’s also a classic Emery pick. Also a big gamble. If he is the target, then I think the Bears will trade back first.

          • bobportcharlotte

            I think Emery made it clear that he would like to trade back when he reminded everyone at large of the many offensive players that would be available with his 14th pick. He opened the door and now we simply have to wait and see if anyone is willing to walk through. I think this coming Draft Day is going to be more entertaining then any TV reality show including ‘Naked and Afraid.’

          • Erik Lambert

            Must-see TV. I look forward to it more than most holidays. Emery increased the size of his scouting group to know where to find hidden talent. Trading back will test that.

          • bobportcharlotte

            I bet that most fans, like myself, did not know Emery had increased the size of the Bear scouting department. That is good to know and understandable because of what Emery has accomplished in such a brief time on the job which is incredible. The Bears have not had a great GM since Jim Finks and I could not understand how Jerry Angelo was kept on the job for so long. I remember when Angelo was hired out of the inept and incompetent front office of the Tampa Bay Bucs and wondered why would the Bears hire a guy from a team that had been terrible for years. This coming season looks great. I am especially encouraged because none of the talking heads on ‘NFL Total Access’ picked the Bears to win the North tonight. I loved it because most of the talking heads are always wrong!

          • Erik Lambert

            It really is a shame that Finks didn’t get to stick around longer. I think we would’ve won more than just that 85 championship if he had. Angelo probably won the job in the interview process and the reason he stuck around so long is he managed to pull out winning seasons at just the right time. His first year on the job the Bears go 13-3. Then after three-straight losing seasons his team goes 11-5 in 2005 and to the Super Bowl in 2006. Then after three more losing seasons they reach the NFC championship in 2010. The guy had timing, if anything else. I’m perfectly happy with nobody talking about the Bears. It gives us a chance to focus less on the hype and more on the football.

          • bobportcharlotte

            I always appreciated the courage shown by Jim McMahon but never cared for him as a human being. However, in the book he wrote after the 85′ season, he said that the Bear management’s goal each year was to simply make the playoffs and lose the first playoff game. The reason being that the Bears made money with the first playoff game and lost money with subsequent games. Why that was so I have no idea. Also, the further they advanced in the playoffs, the more money the team would have to shell out to their players. When you examine the Bears of the middle through late 80′s and into the 90′s it is amazing how few playoff games they won. In my opinion the Bears should have been the team of the 80′s and not the 49′s. Anyway, getting back to the number of playoff wins after their 85′ Super Bowl win, I think it was like one playoff win in the next 20 years. Maybe you are able to dig up the actual number and correct me on this. I am not sure except knowing it was a very small number proving McMahon was right. I believe that mindset has now been replaced by the desire to win. It only took 25 years for that to happen!

          • Erik Lambert

            They won a playoff game in 1988 and again in 1994. After that they didn’t do so again until 2006. A lot of things went wrong for that team after ’85. Ditka couldn’t settle down the quarterback situation. McMahon couldn’t stay healthy. They started moving off players who were a huge part of that team like Wilbur Marshall. Buddy Ryan was gone to Philadelphia. Just a lot of bad decisions and bad breaks combined to rob them of at least one more title. Keep in mind Finks resigned in 1982 because he disagreed with Halas hiring Ditka. I wonder to this day if all that happens were he still in charge through the rest of that decade.

          • bobportcharlotte

            I did not know that was the reason Finks left. I have absolutely no doubt that if George Halas had taken the advice of Finks and allowed him to do his thing it would have been the decade of the Bears. As you know, Buddy Ryan was hired before Ditka and he was the one I would have made HC after the 85′ Super Bowl win. Can you imagine the explosion that would have caused in the national media? The firing of a Super Bowl winning coach to keep the DC? I would have loved that!

          • Erik Lambert

            It would’ve been so Chicago. Still the only team in NFL history to carry two coaches off the field after a championship victory. I might think we would’ve been better off with buddy. He built some great teams over there in Philadelphia and seemed to recognize offensive talent too i.e. Cris Carter, Randle Cunningham etc. I think Halas made the move he did because Finks to that point could find good players but had struck out on two coaches before then in Jack Pardee and Neil Armstrong.

          • bobportcharlotte

            You made me smile by bringing up the fact that Buddy Ryan was carried off the field on the shoulders of his defensive players as was Ditka. I wonder how many fans today know that?

          • Erik Lambert

            If they don’t, they should.

          • brian mckendry

            erik,don’t agree with you about buddy ryan,, he was a great DC , but not a good HC, he was the one that was quoted as saying when they traded chris carter to the Vikings, “CHRIS CARTER ONLY CATCHES TOUCHDOWNS”, and I know he had problems in philly, but huge loss in chris carter

          • Erik Lambert

            If you’d bother to see the documentaries and listen to Carter’s own commentary, Ryan didn’t want to get rid of him but knew he had to. Carter had serious drug problems that would only get worse unless he sought help. He couldn’t do that if he remained with the Eagles. So they cut him. They didn’t trade him. The reasoning behind what Ryan said about the touchdowns was a message to other teams that this guy was worth a flier if he got cleaned up. The Vikings bit and the rest is history. Ryan had a lot of hard luck in the playoffs but his teams were always there. A lot of head coaches can’t say the same.

        • DiscountPCRepair SATX

          I love Hagemann…upside is HUGE.
          We need help in the defensive backfield and all I am saying is that
          is Hagemann should be available later. We need to get value for 14 even if it means trading back.

          Any thoughts on the DT from Tennessee?
          6’7″, 352 pounds … Daniel McCullers

          • Erik Lambert

            Very intriguing kid. Impossible to run against. Little worried about his ability to control his weight. If he can learn to harness that impressive strength and quickness for his size, the Bears could make every team one dimensional.

    • FJ doreza

      I will keep reiterating that getting a DB in the first round is pointless. Will they play over Jennings and Tillman? NO…will Dix..who is from Alabama, the home of NFL busts like to start as a rookie? Most likely NOT. Again good DB’s could be had in the mid rounds or later. AND if your a defensive coordinator you would know that a great D line can take your defense much further than a DB since the secondary relies on the D line to get pressure and force bad throw that turn into turnovers. SIMPLE..If DONALD isn’t there than a LB or DE or DT makes more sense..DB is the deepest area in the draft, so taking a DB first is just silly.

      • DiscountPCRepair SATX

        Who is the backup for Tillman and Jennings? hayden?
        This is Tillman’s last year … Gilbert is the choice.

  • Tom Ward

    Ok so if this is the guy, would be able to trade down and pick up another pick in the 2nd or 3rd and still get this guy?

    • Erik Lambert

      Yes, that is my feeling. The way I see it he won’t go in the top 20. Looking at the board I feel the biggest threats to take him are the Packers (though I feel they want a linebacker or safety more), the Chiefs (I think receiver and offensive line are bigger targets) and the Patriots. To me they are the most obvious threat to take him given their age issues up front. So if we can move back to the Jets we could get him or maybe the Eagles if they want Pryor bad enough. I don’t know for sure if we moved back to, say, the 49ers at #30 if we could get him.

  • FJ doreza

    I really like Hageman but he is more of a risk in the first round, even IF the Bears trade down, maybe late in the second or third..because even though he looks the part, it’s sill a major project. Long wasn’t as much of a reach because he was a great athlete on the OL that didn’t require it as much as it does on defense.Plus coming from a football family his learning curve wouldn’t be a question, as it has shown. Green and Bostic have struggled, so has Shea, and they have had more experience. Not to say that Hageman couldn’t be a great player…but I guess they will see IF they meet with him.

    • Erik Lambert

      Hageman is going in the first, FJ. Way too talented and looks passable on tape to warrant the risk. He’s already an outstanding run blocker. It’s his pass rush that needs work the most. Keep in mind Bostic and Green walked into a horrific situation last year in which they were playing behind a terrible defensive line and in front of an average-at-best secondary. What can you expect from rookies at that point? McClellin was simply miscast in his role. Everybody knew it. It just took the Bears awhile to admit the mistake. I believe the additions of Pasqualoni, Hurtt and Herring will bring more experience and discipline to the coaching staff as well. That will help with Hageman’s development.

  • FJ doreza

    Still, no matter what Aaron Donald is the athlete and player that fits the Bears criteria. Any other DT would be a distant 2nd. IF he is gone, the Bears NEED a LB and if Ryand Shazier is on the board you take him. Or if the trade down nets a high 2nd round pick you take Van Noy, the best all around LB who could be an immediate starter for the Bears, and he could play in or out LB.The Bears met with Dominique Easley, a Donald sized DT with similar attributes. IF healthy I think the Bears could take him, but he could also fall because of the risk. I do like Kareem Martin and Trent Murphy if the trade nets more 2nd or 3rd picks. Or I would take the best QB’s that no one is speaking of Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray. In my mind the 2 best QB’s in the draft. They were extremely successful running pro style offenses, Zach has great touch and placement with easy heat on his passed. Aaron is a quick, sharp, accurate passer with good deep ball ability, and I hope one of these guys falls to the Bears.