The Atlanta Falcons drafted defensive end Ra'Shede Hageman in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Hageman created a buzz of high hopes at the University of Minnesota, showcasing unlimited potential in 46 games, including 91 tackles, 10 sacks and 24 tackles for loss.
What ensued was a rookie season that taught the 6-foot-6, 318-pound defensive star several lessons about life in the NFL.
"Just the level of seriousness in the locker room," Hageman said. "The game preparation and the fact that you're not the best player on your team coming out of college. It's a job now and a lot more serious than it is in college. It's been a great experience and it's what I love to do."
Hageman's rookie campaign included 16 games, 16 tackles, three blocked kicks and one sack. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the 24-year-old Hageman continued to get more and more time as the season went along, making an impact along the defensive line.
Dimitroff said the team did not draft Hageman to come in and pass rush, but instead to be a guy who could help the Falcons build a defensive line from the inside out.
"There are a lot of talented players in this league," Hageman said. "There are also a lot of things that can set you up for being a great player, whether it's studying film or lifting, and that's what I'm going to do. I know my best games are ahead of me. I feel like the sky's the limit, and I'm definitely looking forward to what's ahead."